Taxable sales down nearly 18 percent for April |

Taxable sales down nearly 18 percent for April

Taxable sales in Nevada fell more than $700 million in April to $3.2 billion – a 17.9 percent drop from April 2008.

With no major special events, gaming tax revenue was down 14 percent. Fewer tourists spending less also impacted the sales tax since tourism generates a significant percentage of sales tax revenue.

It was a bleak picture for Carson City, which reported a 27.4 percent drop in taxable sales for the month to just $53.6 million.

Auto sales continued to fall, dropping 27.1 percent below a year ago to just under $12.2 million. That is historically the capital’s largest sales tax generator. But categories tied to the construction and home-building industry also were off compared to a year ago.

“It’s absolutely car sales,” said Carson City Manager Larry Werner.

But he said he is hearing that major car dealers in town had a much better May and that June sales are also encouraging. He said he’s hopeful that will help the capital’s sales numbers finish out the fiscal year on a more positive note.

Statewide, auto sales were even worse off than in Carson City – down 30.4 percent. And construction industry categories overall took a 32.2 percent hit.

Douglas County wasn’t hit nearly as hard as Carson City. The decrease in sales there matched the state as a whole at 17.9 percent for a total of $41.8 million in taxable sales. Douglas’s largest category, food services and drinking places, took a 19.4 percent hit, falling to $7.9 million in April.

Washoe County took a 22.7 percent hit with total sales at just over $425 million while Clark reported $2.4 billion – 17.1 percent below a year ago.

The Department of Taxation reported gross collections of $240.6 million for April, a 16.6 percent decrease compared to April 2008.

Department of Administration Economist Janet Rogers said the sales and use tax is still on target to meet the May 1 Economic Forum projections used to finalize the state budget. In fact, since the fiscal year started with five months of sales above projections, she said actual taxable sales are a percent ahead of projections.

“We’re still 1 percent ahead of where we think we should be at this point in the year,” she said. “However, we’re trending down.”