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Sean Whaley

Nevada Economy: Taxable Sales Grow Statewide

28 June 2004

CARSON CITY -- Statewide taxable sales saw another month of double-digit growth in April, with food and drink and car purchases helping push the economic indicator up by 14.2 percent over April 2003.

The Department of Taxation reported statewide taxable sales totaling $3.2 billion in April. In Clark County, taxable sales totaled $2.4 billion, up 13.8 percent.

And for the first time since May 1988, all 17 Nevada counties saw growth in taxable sales in the same month.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said the strong growth in taxable sales shows Nevada's economy has rebounded.

"Tourism is back on track and our state continues to attract new businesses at a record pace," he said in remarks accompanying the report.

Because of the strong growth in taxable sales and the taxes generated from the purchases, the state should soon be able to restore funding to its rainy day fund, Guinn said.

The fund was depleted following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the accompanying economic slowdown.

Sales tax collections are about $45 million ahead of what was projected for the first 10 months of the 2003-04 fiscal year, Guinn said.

The largest increases in statewide taxable sales were in the categories of eating and drinking establishments, up 14 percent; automotive dealers and gasoline, up 14.7 percent; wholesale trade and durable goods, up 31.7 percent; and home furniture and furnishing, up 22.4 percent.

In Clark County, the eating and drinking establishments category was up 14.6 percent over April 2003.

The Taxation Department also reported on revenue collections from a variety of other taxes, many newly imposed or increased by the 2003 Legislature.

The new business tax saw collections of $54.7 million for the three months ending March 31. So far this year, the collections total $106.8 million, slightly above projections.

Cigarette taxes, increased from 35 cents to 80 cents a pack, total $85.9 million for the year to date, about 4 percent below forecasts.

Liquor taxes, increased by 75 percent, total $29.4 million for the year so far, about 12 percent above forecasts.

The live entertainment tax for nongaming establishments continues to perform far below expectations, bringing in nearly $3 million so far this year.

The collection of the tax began Jan. 1. It is supposed to bring in $27 million in the final six months of this fiscal year, but likely will fall far short.