Taxable sales down 16.2 percent in December |

Taxable sales down 16.2 percent in December

Taxable sales fell 16.2 percent in December, bringing the total economic slide to 7.5 percent for the first six months of fiscal year 2009.

Total sales were $3.9 billion for the month as 13 of Nevada’s 17 counties reported a decrease compared to December 2007. That compares with $4.67 billion a year ago.

Despite that, the General Fund portion of the sales and use tax collections is $11.9 million above their forecast for the first six months of the fiscal year. The primary reason is the extra revenue collected during the tax amnesty program last fall.

A major culprit statewide was auto sales, down a whopping 34 percent.

In Carson City, total taxable sales fell 13 percent. But even though auto sales is normally Carson’s largest category, the capital suffered less than the rest of the state with a 27.9 percent drop in that category to $11.45 million.

In general merchandise stores, now the largest Carson category, sales were off 10 percent to $17.1 million.

Those categories weren’t alone. Electronics and appliance sales fell 38 percent, food and beverage stores 17 percent, clothing stores 39.5 percent and miscellaneous merchandise retailers more than 30 percent.

The best performance in a major sales tax category for Carson was Food Services and Drinking Places, up 35.4 percent to $9.7 million. Much of that gain can be attributed to the special legislative session and ramp up toward the opening of the 2009 Legislature.

One bright spot statewide was the 18 percent increase in construction of buildings. In Carson City, that category was up more than 330 percent, but only constitutes $83,000 in taxable sales.

The other positive was Accommodations, up 7.8 percent statewide. In Carson City, that category also showed an increase ” 5.1 percent.

Neighboring Douglas County reported a 16.8 percent decrease in taxable sales to $59.4 million. Food Services and Drinking Places, primarily the Stateline Casino area, showed a 19.8 percent drop from a year ago to $9.7 million while Accommodations were off by 30 percent.

Churchill County was one of the four counties showing an increase this December. Taxable sales there rose 11.7 percent to $33.5 million. Building material sales, electronics store sales and motor vehicle sales were all up significantly, as were sales by specialty trade contractors, utilities and sales by Food Services and Drinking Places.

Lyon County was also up ” by 5 percent. Total sales there were $31.4 million with double digit increases in Food Services and Drinking Places, general merchandise stores, professional, scientific and technical services as well as wholesalers of durable goods.

In Clark County, taxable sales fell 16.7 percent to $2.9 billion in December. In Washoe, the drop was 17.6 percent to $567.5 million.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.