CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales jumped 7.2 percent in March over March 2011, but the state’s two largest urban counties showed more sluggish growth, the state Department of Taxation reported today.
Taxable sales totaled $3.9 billion in March, driven by Nevada’s rural counties where large energy and mining projects helped boost the numbers overall. For the fiscal year to date, statewide taxable sales are up 7.5 percent.
Clark County was up only 1.9 percent in March, and Washoe was up only 3 percent.
But White Pine County posted a 672 percent gain in taxable sales to $161.3 million compared to $20.9 million in March 2011. Several other rural counties associated with mining also showed strong increases, including Elko, up 16.4 percent; Esmeralda, up 50.1 percent; Lincoln, up 74.5 percent; Lyon, up 71.4 percent; and Pershing County, up 41.5 percent.
Fifteen of the state’s 17 counties showed gains in taxable sales in March.
The utilities taxable sales category, which would reflect energy project activity, was up 431.7 percent in March.
State Taxation official Brody Leiser said that without the utilities related purchases in White Pine County, the state as a whole would have been up only about 3 percent in taxable sales in March, a figure closer to the gains reported in Clark and Washoe counties.
A $225 million wind farm project is being built by San Francisco-based Pattern Energy in White Pine County. There is also a major transmission line project being built from the county south to Clark County.
Mining activity around the state has also increased with the high price of gold.
Major taxable sales categories showed mostly gains in March.
The motor vehicles and parts dealers category was up 15.8 percent; building material and garden equipment-supplies was up 34 percent, clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 7.9 percent, and merchant wholesalers-durable goods were up 5.6 percent. Food and beverage stores were up 7.6 percent, furniture and home furnishings were up 11.8 percent, accommodations were up 21.1 percent, and food services and drinking places were up 0.8 percent.
The construction industry continued to be negative, and was down 16.4 percent in March. General merchandise stores were also down in March, by 6.2 percent.
Brody Leiser of the Tax Department says White Pine activity fueled the March taxable sales increase:
Leiser says categories related to mining include machinery manufacturing and merchant wholesalers-durable goods: