April sales tax numbers up statewide, but down in Carson

The total dollar value of taxable sales in Nevada increased 5.3 percent in April.

But the numbers were negative in 11 of 17 counties, including Carson City, which experienced its worst month in a long time.

Overall sales dropped 9 percent in the capital, despite a 10 percent increase in automotive sales. The loss was attributed in good part to the closure of Kmart -- the second "big box" retailer to shut its doors in the capital in less than a year. Unlike WalMart, which moved to Douglas County, the Super Kmart on North Carson was the victim of its parent company's bankruptcy proceedings.

When the loss of both stores is combined, Carson's total taxable sales by general merchandise stores dropped nearly 40 percent to $7.9 million, compared to April 2002.

The automotive dealers and gasoline category rose 10.5 percent, but that increase totaled just $2.1 million.

There was a corresponding drop in wholesale trade in nondurable goods -- 22.6 percent -- and a 7.5 percent drop in building materials sales. Altogether, 43 of the 99 business reporting categories reported decreases in taxable sales for the month.

The bottom line for Carson was a decrease in total taxable sales from $72.4 million in April 2002 to $65.8 million this April.

Douglas, where WalMart relocated, saw another in a growing list of monthly increases, reporting a 12.2 percent increase in taxable sales to $43.4 million.

General-merchandise stores in Douglas reported a 302 percent increase in taxable sales to $6.98 million for the month, with Wal-Mart benefiting even more from the closure of Super Kmart. The county as a whole reported $48.4 million in taxable sales for April.

The statewide increase was driven by a 7.9 percent increase in Clark County sales to $2.1 billion for the month.

But Gov. Kenny Guinn said the increase still isn't enough to bring the state closer to the original economic forum projections.

He said Nevada is now $25 million behind the sales tax projections used to build the current year's budget.

He also noted that 11 counties were in the red.

"I remain hopeful the Legislature will come up with an effective tax plan that is stable and responsive to the needs of Nevada," Guinn said.

Auto dealers fared well not only in Carson City but the rest of the state, posting a 9.7 percent increase in taxable sales statewide. Unlike Carson City, retail was up 18.4 percent across the state.

Lyon County also did well for the month, with a 13.3 percent increase. Construction related categories were all up substantially along with retail store sales. Lyon reported $22.8 million in sales.

Beyond Lyon, Douglas and Clark, the only counties reporting an increase over last year were Churchill, Lincoln and Mineral.

Washoe, however, was essentially flat with just three-tenths of a percent down in $416.5 million in total sales.


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