U.S. Markets closed

State: Nevada sales up 4.2 percent in September

Sandra Chereb, Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- Taxable sales in Nevada rose 4.2 percent in September over the same month last year, with several major sectors, including autos, accommodations and Nevada's beleaguered construction industry reporting large gains, the Nevada Department of Taxation reported Thursday.

Nevada merchants sold $3.7 billion in goods in September, on which the state collected nearly $293 million in gross sales and use taxes.

The report marks the 27th consecutive month of improved sales and comes a day before an independent panel of business finance experts meets to project how much tax money Nevada will take in over the next two years. The forecast by the Economic Forum must be used by the governor and state lawmakers to build a state budget. Any spending proposals that exceed forum projections must identify a funding source.

In southern Nevada's Clark County — the state's population and tourism mecca — sales in September rose 4.9 percent, while Washoe County, which includes Reno, reported an increase of 9.1 percent.

Eight of Nevada's 17 counties reported increased sales over September 2011, with Churchill, Esmeralda, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral and Pershing counties being the exceptions.

Sales of building materials and garden equipment supplies — classified as construction sales — jumped 20 percent in September. That industry in particular was hard hit by the Great Recession when Nevada's once-booming housing industry imploded, leading to record foreclosures and roughly 60 percent of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Vehicles and parts sales rose 13.3 percent in September. In other sectors, sales of durable goods rose 5.2 percent; clothing and accessories, up 7.4 percent; accommodations, up 102.5 percent.

The portion of sales and use tax collections that go to the state general fund totaled $74 million in September, representing a 4.5 percent increase from the same month last year, the report said. To date, general fund portions are 4.5 percent, or $9.4 million, higher than projections made in May 2011 by the Economic Forum.

For the July-September quarter, the state also collected $94.2 million in modified business taxes, which fell nearly 4 percent compared with the same quarter in 2011.

Excise taxes, which include levies on such things as tobacco, liquor, live entertainment and auto leases, totaled $115.7 million for the month, down 0.2 percent from September 2011, the report said.