Nevada Sales Down In February, Increasing Budget Shortfall Concerns

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada officials worried about a state
revenue shortfall that could approach $1 billion by mid-2009 disclosed more grim economic news on Friday - a report showing a
continuing slump in sales.

The state's merchants reported February sales of $3.62 billion, down 5.4 percent from the same month a year earlier.

The Taxation Department said sales were down in February in 11
of Nevada's 17 counties. That included its largest, Clark, encompassing Las Vegas, and Washoe, which takes in Reno.

The new report shows the state's cut of sales taxes is now $635.2 million, $75 million or 7.1 percent below forecasts for the current fiscal year. It follows a recent Gaming Control Board report that the state's taxes on casino winnings are nearly $50 million, or 8 percent, below forecasts for the same period.

Taxes on the casinos and on sales are the two largest revenue
sources for state government. The slump in those revenues has been
a key part of the analysis that the state will have a revenue shortfall of $914 million by mid-2009.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-04-25-08 1538EDT