Taxable sales continue downward plunge

A nearly $600 million drop in taxable sales in Clark County drove an 18.8 percent reduction statewide during July. Total taxable sales for the state fell $700 million to just over $3 billion for the month.

In Clark County, sales fell 20.6 percent, or $578 million, to $2.2 billion.

But the economic damage wasn't limited to Clark. Fifteen counties reported a double-digit decline compared to July 2008. Elko was off just 6 percent. Churchill County was the only reporting area showing an increase from a year ago - up eight-tenths of a percent.

Carson City fared better than most areas with a 12.7 percent loss to $61.9 million for July.

Contrary to most recent months, auto dealers - the capital's biggest single sales tax generator, were down just 9 percent. Car sales have been down by double digit percentages for the past six months when compared to the same month a year earlier. The improvement - $15.4 million in sales - can undoubtedly be credited to the Cash for Clunkers program that began in July. That program should give auto sales a significant boost in August when most Cash for Clunkers sales occurred.

The state as a whole didn't get the same benefit from that program. Auto sales overall were down 31 percent, according to the Department of Taxation.

Carson's second largest category, general merchandise stores, were down 11 percent to $10.4 million in July.

Douglas showed a 54 percent decrease in auto sales revenue, from $4.2 million to $1.9 million. Douglas's biggest category, eating and drinking places, showed a 16.4 percent decrease to $12.7 million. Most of that is generated by the Tahoe resorts. Total taxable sales for Douglas were $51.5 million.

Churchill, the only positive report on the list, reported $22.9 million for the month. Offsetting declining categories were a 13 percent jump to $3 million by food services and drinking places, a 122 percent increase in nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing to $1.1 million and an increase from $85,000 in sales by utilities to $2.15 million.

Lyon County reported a 20 percent decrease in sales to $28.8 million. Not only construction categories but retail sales categories were off substantially.

In Storey County, sales fell 16 percent to $3.87 million. 

Washoe reported $442.9 million in sales, a 15.2 percent decrease.

Statewide, construction industry categories were all down sharply. Construction of buildings alone showed a 50 percent decline to $12.8 million and specialty trade contractors were down a third while building material sales, electronics, appliances, furniture and other such purchases were all down by at least 25 percent.

The weak economy was further reflected in gross revenue collections from sales and use taxes - down 13.5 percent to $242 million. The General Fund portion of those tax collections came in at $4.6 million below the May forecasts used to build the state budget.

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