Nevada sales stuck in neutral

CARSON CITY — Nevada consumer spending continued its slump in June, with taxable sales of $4.5 billion reflecting a decline of 0.3 percent compared to June 2006, the Department of Taxation reported Wednesday.

The June decline was less pronounced than in May, when taxable sales were off by 3.6 percent over the same month in the prior year.

For the 2006-2007 fiscal year that ended June 30, Nevada taxable sales totaled $49.4 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over the prior year.

For Clark County, taxable sales declined by only 0.1 percent in June, and increased 1.4 percent for the entire fiscal year to $36.3 billion.

Nine of 17 counties, including the two largest urban counties, showed a decrease in taxable sales for June 2007 compared to June 2006: Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Lincoln, Lyon, Nye, Storey and Washoe.

Compared to the May 1 projections by the Economic Forum, the general fund portion of the sales and use taxes is about 1 percent, or $9.7 million, below its forecast for fiscal year 2007.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, in remarks accompanying the report, said the fiscal year ended with a more modest gain than the phenomenal growth reported in the previous year.

“Consumer spending remains strong, with slight growth in the construction industry which is offset in the decline of automobile purchases, one of Nevada’s major economic indicators,” he said. “Our state is currently mirroring national economic trends. We will continue to monitor future predictions and the effect on Nevada’s revenue sources.”

The Tax Department also reported on revenue from the modified business tax.

For the quarter ending June 30, $65.6 million was collected, a 1.1 percent increase over the same quarter in the prior year.

Businesses reported $10.1 billion in gross wages and took $764 million in allowable health care deductions for the June quarter.

The Economic Forum forecast for this tax was $281 million for fiscal year 2007. The tax revenue for the four quarters of fiscal year 2007 was off by 0.6 percent, or $1.7 million, from its projection.

Business license fees from both newly registered businesses and annual renewals amounted to $5.2 million for the June 2007 quarter for a 5.5 percent increase from the June 2006 quarter collections. For the entire fiscal year, there was a 9.2 percent decrease compared to fiscal year 2006. But the 2007 number still represents a 5 percent increase above Economic Forum projections.

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