Merchant sales increase 4.1 percent in March |

Merchant sales increase 4.1 percent in March

Brendan Riley

CARSON CITY (AP) – Nevada merchants had a 4.1 percent increase in sales in March, selling $4.29 billion in goods and services, the state Department of Taxation reported Thursday.

State and local taxes collected from those sales totaled $330.6 million, an 8.5 percent increase compared with March 2005. For the nine months of the fiscal year that began last July, sales tax revenues totaled $2.7 billion, up 12.7 percent over the same months a year ago.

The state’s cut of the total taxes collected amounted to $88.6 million for the month. For the fiscal year to date, the total was $729.7 million – $30.8 million more than projected last year by the state Economic Forum.

Eight of the state’s 17 counties reported a decrease in taxable sales in March from the previous year. Mineral had the biggest slump, down 51.5 percent, followed by Mineral, down 27.8 percent, and Lander, down 21.5 percent.

Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, accounted for $3.24 billion of the March sales, up 5.7 percent over the same month a year before. Washoe County, which includes Reno, had sales of $588.6 million, down 1.3 percent.

Sales in Elko County totaled $90.2 million, up 16.2 percent – for the biggest increase in the state. Carson City sales totaled $85 million, down 3.9 percent.

Statewide, the Taxation Department said general merchandise sales were down 2.8 percent in March, while industrial and commercial machinery sales were up 43.3 percent.

Construction was up 31.6 percent, business services rose 7.2 percent and auto and fuel sales declined 10.3 percent.

Bars and restaurants, a key indicator of Nevada’s tourist economy, had an 8.3 percent gain in sales statewide. A breakdown shows that in the Las Vegas area, such sales were up 10.1 percent. The Reno area was barely up 0.8 percent.

Besides sales tax collection, excise taxes generated another $124.3 million, up 9 percent from March 2005.

A breakdown shows that the state’s share of cigarette taxes was $9.7 million, down 4.9 percent. Liquor taxes amounted to $3.5 million, up 6 percent, and live entertainment taxes amounted to $1.3 million, up 75.5 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.

On the Net:

Nevada Department of Taxation

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