Nev. taxable sales fall nearly 18 percent in Sept.

AP News
Posted: Dec 01, 2009 3:03 PM

Taxable sales in Nevada fell 17.7 percent in September, marking the 11th straight month of double-digit declines, the Nevada Department of Taxation reported Tuesday.

Merchants reported sales of nearly $3.2 billion in September. For the first quarter of the fiscal year that began July 1, sales dropped 20.3 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

The report notes that about $38 million in taxable sales were reported under an amnesty program in September 2008. Excluding that adjustment, September 2009 sales would have decreased 16.9 percent.

Gross revenue collections from sales and use taxes totaled $247.7 million, representing a 12.7 percent decline from the same month last year. The collections were $12.5 million, or nearly 1.6 percent, less than projections the Economic Forum made in May, which were used to build the state's two-year budget.

Gross collections are down 14.9 percent so far this fiscal year.

"September tax collections continue to reflect that Nevada is heavily impacted by the current national economic recession," Gov. Jim Gibbons said in a statement. "All Nevadans are feeling the impacts of high unemployment rates and sluggish consumer spending."

The Gibbons administration has been waiting for the September report, which includes new taxes that took effect in July, before considering whether a special legislative session is necessary. The next regular legislative session isn't until early 2011.

Gibbons said Tuesday he will be meeting with staff, agency heads and legislators to review spending and cash flow before making a decision, likely in December or early January.

The new levies included changes in the payroll tax, known as the Modified Business Tax, and a doubling of annual business license fees to $200.

For the quarter, the Modified Business Tax brought in $95.7 million, $74 million more than last year for a 29 percent increase. Business license fees, however, fell 28 percent to $3.8 million.

Combined, sales and business tax collections dropped $15.9 million, or 4.4 percent.

Sixteen of Nevada's 17 counties reported sales declines in September, with rural Mineral County being the lone exception.

Clark County, the state's population and tourism hub that includes Las Vegas, reported $2.3 billion in sales for September, a 16.5 percent decline from the same month a year earlier.

Sales in Washoe County, which includes Reno, totaled $443.4 million, a 20.6 percent drop. Elsewhere, sales fell 23.8 percent in Carson City, 56.3 percent in Churchill County, 11.6 percent in Douglas County and 12.1 percent in Elko County.