Nevada Sales Down Again

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The fiscal New Year got off to a bad start for Nevada merchants, whose July sales totaling $3.79 billion
were down 5.2 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.

A report Friday from the state Taxation Department shows that eight of the state's 17 counties had sales slumps. That included the two largest, Clark which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe which takes in Reno.

Sales in Clark County totaled $2.8 billion in July, down 4.9 percent; while sales in Washoe County amounted to $522.1 million, down 8.8 percent.

The July sales generated $279.8 million in taxes that go to state and local governments and to schools, down 5.1 percent. The state's cut of the sales taxes, $75.4 million, was down 4.1 percent compared with July 2007.

The state Economic Forum had projected in June that the state's share would be about $2 million higher than the amount actually collected.

Nevada "continues to feel the effects of the slow housing market and overall sluggish economy and our revenue collections continue to decline accordingly," Gov. Jim Gibbons stated. But he said southern Nevada construction is still positive, and statewide consumer spending showed "modest gains."

The Taxation Department report shows that vehicle and auto part sales statewide totaled $445.7 million in July, down 10.3 percent; while building material sales amounted to $188.9 million, down 9 percent.

Restaurant-bar sales totaled $531.7 million in July, down 7 percent. Such sales are considered good indicators of tourist traffic in Nevada.

Clothing store sales totaled $228.3 million in July, up 0.8 percent; general merchandise sales amounted to $330.1 million, up 0.6 percent; and durable goods wholesaling added up to $301.4 million, down 7.6 percent.

The report also showed that excise taxes collected on cigarettes, liquor and other sources during July totaled $14.9 million. That's down 18.2 percent compared with July 2007.

The sales and excise tax report follows a report earlier in the month from the state Gaming Control Board showing a 13 percent slump in money won by casinos from gamblers during July. State taxes based on the casino wins were 24 percent below the collections at the same point a year earlier.

Taxes on sales and on casino winnings are the mainstays of the state's revenue sources.

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