Taxable sales up for first time this year | NevadaAppeal.com
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Taxable sales up for first time this year

Nevada’s taxable sales were up in April for the first time this calendar year, albeit only by a third of a percent.

Carson City continued to be hit hard by sluggish auto sales, which are the city’s biggest sales tax generator. Although taxable sales were down only 1.6 percent overall in Carson, car sales were off 15.7 percent to $16.5 million. In addition, food services and drinking sales were down more than 15 percent to $6.6 million.

The capital was helped out considerably by a 10.5 percent increase in building material sales and a nearly 17 percent increase in sales by food and beverage stores. In addition, taxable sales from amusement, gambling and recreation nearly quadrupled to $1.97 million. Altogether, Carson City reported a total of $73.8 million in taxable sales for the month.

Douglas County didn’t fare as well, dropping 6.3 percent to $50.9 million for April.

There, food and beverage stores, general merchandise stores, gas stations and electronics stores were all down.

But the big hit in Douglas came from its largest category ” food services and drinking places ” the Stateline casinos ” which fell 18 percent from April 2007 to $9.9 million.

There were two bright spots in western Nevada. Churchill County’s taxable sales rose 11.9 percent compared to April 2007 to $27 million and Lyon County’s total increased 40.9 percent to $42.9 million.

In Churchill, there were huge increases in utilities ” by a factor of 17 ” specialty contractors and heavy construction as well as numerous small categories.

In Lyon, one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, there were increases in most construction categories. But taxable sales from general merchandise stores jumped to $2.79 million ” five times what it was a year ago.

Statewide, total sales reported to the Department of Taxation were $3.92 billion with the largest increase, 45.4 percent, by electronics and appliance stores.

In a good sign for the tourism industry, the number for accommodations was up more than 16 percent compared to April 2007.

Overall in Nevada, the Motor Vehicles and Parts category, one of the largest sales tax generators in the state, was down 20.3 percent for the month.

The state general fund’s share of sales and use taxes is $87.7 million ” 8.2 percent ” below the May 2007 projections by the Economic Forum.

Gov. Jim Gibbons issued a cautious statement, saying the April sales tax figures still reflected a sluggish economy.

But he pointed to indicators of growth in commercial construction in southern Nevada, a 16.2 percent increase in taxes on accommodations representing tourist activity, and what he called “cautious consumer purchases within select categories.”

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750. The Associated Press contributed to this story.