Posts Tagged ‘Retail Association of nevada’

Nevada Posts 26th Consecutive Taxable Sales Increase In August

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 1:38 pm October 25th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada recorded its 26th consecutive month of taxable sales increases in August, when consumers spent $3.7 billion on goods and services for a 7.6 percent jump over August 2011, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

The last decrease in statewide taxable sales came in June 2010, when a 0.3 percent decline was reported over June 2009.

Taxable sales grew by 8.1 percent in Clark County and jumped double-digits in Washoe County to 10.5 percent.

Nine of Nevada’s 17 counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for August 2012 compared to August 2011, with Carson City, Esmeralda, Eureka, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, and White Pine counties showing declines.

All major taxable sales categories showed gains in August.

The largest increases were seen in the categories of Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers, up 21.6 percent; Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies, up 36.9 percent; Clothing and Clothing Accessories, up 10.3 percent; General Merchandise Stores, up 6.9 percent; and Merchant Wholesalers-Durable Goods, up 9 percent.

Other major categories showing increases included the Construction Industry Classification, up 2.7 percent; Food and Beverage Stores, up 0.6 percent; Furniture and Home Furnishings, up 6 percent; Accommodations, up 12.2 percent; and Food Services and Drinking Places, up 2.4 percent.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), said the increases in larger purchases, from vehicles to furniture, is particularly good news in the August taxable sales report.

“Furniture sales I think is a great indicator that hopefully, people are either renovating their houses or buying new furniture or possibly trying to furnish new homes,” he said. “I think that signals more of a confidence, and people are more secure, especially leading into the holiday season.

“We’re very positive looking forward, we’re very optimistic,” Wachter said. “We came up with a 6.8 percent increase in taxable sales for holiday goods this year over last year. I think this news confirms that we were probably justified in our optimism.”

In some good news for Gov. Brian Sandoval as he prepares his next two year budget, the General Fund portion of the sales and use taxes collected from the August taxable sales amounted to $73.1 million, an 8.4 percent increase over August 2011.

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter with RAN says the major purchases are an especially good sign for Nevada’s economy:

102512Wachter1 :19 the holiday season.”

Wachter says retailers are optimistic about a strong holiday shopping season:

102512Wachter2 :16 in our optimism.”

 

 

 

Nevada Holiday Hiring Outlook Positive For 2012

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:56 am October 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada retailers are expected to add more than 4,000 seasonal positions through December, the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) said today.

The estimate is based on an assumption that hiring in 2012 will be comparable to last year, when the state added 4,100 retail positions between September and December for a 3.2 percent increase in total employment in the sector.

During the past five years, the Nevada retail sector grew by an average of 3.9 percent during the same time frame. Should conditions prevail that are more in line with the longer-run historical average, the state will see a gain in retail positions closer to 5,000. Based on company announcements and news accounts thus far, it is likely that 2012 hiring levels will fall somewhere between the two, RAN said in a news release.

Unfortunately, competition for available positions is expected to be as tough as it was during the last several holiday seasons, the association reported. Currently, there are 164,100 unemployed Nevadans, down only slightly from levels reported around this time in 2011. Seasonal hiring will provide modest and short-term relief.

Thus far, several national retailers with locations in Nevada have publicly announced major seasonal hiring plans. Actual hiring activity may vary from estimates depending on individual store needs:

- Amazon – 1,250 estimated seasonal hires at the fulfillment center in Fernley;

- Macy’s/Bloomingdales – 900 estimated seasonal hires statewide;

- Target – 900 estimated seasonal hires statewide;

- Wal-Mart – 500 estimated seasonal hires statewide;

- Kohl’s Department Stores – 490 estimated seasonal hires statewide;

- Toys ‘R’ Us – 250 estimated seasonal hires at the McCarran Distribution Center for store distribution, e-commerce in Reno and seasonal store positions statewide;

- Best Buy – 150 estimated seasonal hires statewide.

Nationally, holiday hiring is expected to reach 700,000 in 2012, an increase of 6 percent compared to the 660,000 reported in 2011.

 

Halloween Spending Expected To Total $118 Million In Nevada, Up 10.4 Percent Over 2011

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:03 am October 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Goblins and ghosts are expected to be good for business in Nevada this Halloween.

The Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) reported today that Silver State residents will spend $118 million on Halloween-related merchandise this month if national trends hold true locally.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), approximately 71.5 percent of U.S. consumers will celebrate Halloween this year, up from 68.6 percent last year and a record number for the holiday. Spending is also expected to increase, with consumers reporting they will spend an average of $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 reported last year.

Assuming national trends hold true in Nevada, an estimated 1.5 million residents ages 18 and over will be shopping to help their families celebrate Halloween this year. If Nevada consumers’ spending on the holiday keeps pace with national averages, celebrants will generate $118 million in Halloween-related revenue at retailers statewide.

Compared to last season, when total spending was estimated at $107 million, revenue collected by Nevada retailers will increase by 10.4 percent.

RAN President Mary Lau said: “Retail spending is rising in Nevada, and Halloween is always a great excuse to make a few fun purchases. With Halloween spending in the state expected to reach its highest level yet, there is reason to remain optimistic about sales trends throughout the rest of the year, especially during the approaching winter holiday season.”

Of those celebrating Halloween this year, it is estimated 51.4 percent will decorate their home or yard, up 1.9 percentage points from the 49.5 percent reported last year. Approximately 45 percent will dress in a costume, up from 43.9 percent last year.

Notably, 35.7 percent of those surveyed said they would look for inspiration for Halloween costumes within a retail store or costume shop; others will consult such sources as print media, friends and family, television, and Facebook, to name a few.

Additionally, 15.1 percent say they plan to dress their pets in a costume as well. Also notable, 25.9 percent of consumers say the state of the economy will impact their Halloween plans, causing them to spend less; of these consumers, 18 percent will make a costume instead of purchasing one from a store.

 

New Retail Association Poll Shows Presidential Race Tied, Others Favor Obama

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:49 am September 25th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Retail Association of Nevada’s (RAN) latest installment of its semi-annual survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows the presidential race in a tie and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., opening up a lead against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. in the Senate race.

With early voting beginning in just 26 days, the race for president is tied with 46 percent of voters indicating they would reelect President Obama and 46 percent of voters indicating support for Gov. Mitt Romney. Only 2 percent of those polled said they were undecided. The survey results come just days before both Obama and Romney visit Nevada yet again this season.

Two other recent polls show much different results, however, with both favoring Obama in Nevada.

Author: David Ball, via Wikimedia Commons.

The RAN results show Heller opened a five point lead over Berkley with 44 percent of voters preferring him to Berkley’s 39 percent. Four percent of voters in that race remain undecided and nine percent opted for “none of the above.” The poll’s margin of error is 4.38 percentage points.

RAN will be releasing full poll results on Wednesday. Additional topics covered in the survey include Nevada voters’ thoughts on Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Legislature, the economy, education, taxation and more.

The poll was conducted September 19-20 and used a sample size of 500 likely voters including 100 cell phone interviews.

Results today show that more Nevadans are optimistic about the direction of the state than in previous surveys. Thirty-seven percent say Nevada is heading in the right direction, with 54 percent finding the state is on the wrong track. Only 17 percent thought Nevada was headed in the right direction in RAN’s September 2010 poll, while 76 percent said the state was on the wrong track two years ago.

RAN commissions their surveys from Public Opinion Strategies twice a year which allows trends to be identified and provides an historical context to some of the toughest challenges facing Nevada.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) is a national political and public affairs research firm. Founded in 1991, POS has conducted more than five million interviews with voters and consumers in all fifty states and over two dozen foreign countries.

A separate poll released today for the League of Conservation Voters showed much different results, with Obama up 9 percent over Romney 52 percent to 43 percent. The survey of 501 likely voters taken Sept. 18-20 by Public Policy Polling was an automated response poll, requiring those contacted to press the telephone keypad to indicate their responses.

The results, which also show 48 percent supporting Berkley and 44 percent Heller, were first reported by political commentator Jon Ralston.

Yet another poll released by the American Research Group puts Obama at 51 percent to 44 percent for Romney with 4 percent undecided.

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted Sept. 20-23 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Nevada Retailers Expect $245 Million In Back-To-School Spending, Up 15 Percent Over 2011

By Sean Whaley | 8:45 am August 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada retailers and their online counterparts expect to see $245 million in spending on back-to-school merchandise for public school children this year, a 15.4 percent increase over spending levels in 2011, the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) reported today.

College spending in Nevada is expected to generate another $134 million in what is as the second biggest consumer event for retailers behind the winter holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF reports that combined K-12 and college spending will reach $83.8 billion this year.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

“Parents want to make sure their kids have everything they need to start the new school year and are willing to spend more than ever on school-related necessities,” said Mary Lau, president of RAN. “However, the economy remains a concern in most households, which will have an impact on the way families shop. Bargain-hunting will remain important to budget-conscious consumers.”

According to the latest survey results from the NRF, families nationwide with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend an average of $689 on clothing, backpacks and other supplies. The latest estimate is a 14.1-percent increase from the estimated $604 spent last year.

According to demographics released by Nielsen Marketplace, there are approximately 1 million households in Nevada, and 34 percent (or 355,000 households) have one or more children in grades K-12. Assuming national trends as reported by the NRF generally hold true for Nevada families, total spending in the state will reach approximately $245 million. Due to an increase in both the count of families with children entering elementary or middle school, and an increase in spending per family, back-to-school spending in the state is expected to increase 15.4 percent compared to last year when total spending was an estimated $212 million.

As for college-bound students, the NRF estimates families will spend an average of $907 on new clothes, dormitory or apartment furniture and other college supplies. Compared to last year’s estimate of $809, college spending is expected to increase 12.2 percent.

Utilizing the latest estimate of Nevada residents who will be enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs within and outside of Nevada in the coming school year released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, aggregate back-to-school spending on college supplies is expected to increase this year as well. Again, assuming Nevada residents follow national trends, college spending is estimated to reach $134 million, compared to $120 million in 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for RAN, said back-to-school spending is exceeded only by the Christmas holiday season.

“Back-to-school is for a specific purpose, and we feel we can measure it pretty accurately,” he said.

Wachter said clothing and electronics, from calculators to laptops to phones, are the big spending categories.

“Electronics, not quite but almost, total clothing,” he said. “The average person is going to spend about $250 per student on clothing and we’re going to spend about $225 on electronics.”

The spending increase is due in part to some increased confidence among Nevadans that their jobs are more secure, Wachter said.

The Internet is continuing to grow as a preferred shopping “destination” for back-to-school items. Approximately 39.6 percent of consumers will be using the Internet to shop for needed supplies, nearly double the 2007 estimate. That said, discount stores are expected to be the most popular shopping destination, with 67.1 percent of consumers planning to shop there. Department stores followed with 59.9 percent.

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of RAN says back-to-school shopping is a huge event for retailers:

081512Wachter1 :15 on back-to-school items.”

Wachter says spending on electronics now nearly equals spending on clothes:

081512Wachter2 :12 $225 on electronics.”

Nevada Posts Double-Digit Gain In Taxable Sales In May, 23rd Consecutive Month Of Increases

By Sean Whaley | 3:02 pm July 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada taxable sales jumped by double-digits in May, with consumers purchasing $3.7 billion in goods for a 10.4 percent increase over May 2011, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

Clark County taxable sales were up 10 percent, while Washoe County saw a 4.9 percent gain.

Photo by Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

All major taxable sales categories were up in May over May 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the broad increases across all major categories, from vehicles to general merchandise, is especially noteworthy.

“Things are starting to look good,” he said. “Obviously unemployment is still going to be a huge indicator on where people have disposable income, where consumer confidence is going, and the numbers would appear that people are reasonable in making purchases and feel like it.”

The largest increases were seen in the categories of Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers, up 20.8 percent; food services and drinking places, up 7.8 percent, merchant wholesalers – durable goods, up 13.7 percent; machinery manufacturing, up 84.9 percent; and clothing and clothing accessories, up 8.9 percent.

Other categories showing increases included the construction industry, up 6.8 percent; general merchandise stores, up 6.2 percent; food and beverage stores, up 11.2 percent; furniture and home furnishings, up 3.5 percent; and accommodations, up 87.9 percent.

Fifteen of Nevada’s seventeen counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for May 2012 compared to May 2011, with only Lincoln and Lyon counties reporting a decrease.

It was the 23rd consecutive month of increases in taxable sales.

The sales taxes collected from the consumer activity are now about $34.5 million more for the 2012 fiscal year through May than what was projected by the Economic Forum.

Wachter said the upcoming back-to-school shopping season will provide further guidance on how Nevada’s economy will perform through the fall and holiday shopping season.

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says Nevada unemployment will play an important role in consumer confidence but the May numbers are great:

072712Wachter1 :22 these are great.”

Wachter says the upcoming back-to-school shopping season should be a good indicator of Nevada’s economic health for the remainder of the year:

072712Wachter2 :11 make some improvements.”

 

 

 

 

Nevada Taxable Sales Sees Modest But Solid Gain In April

By Sean Whaley | 2:31 pm June 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed by 5.1 percent in April over April 2011, continuing a 22 consecutive month trend of positive numbers for the important economic indicator, the state Department of Taxation reported this week.

The $3.5 billion in taxable purchases in April were buoyed by double-digit gains in several major categories, including construction; up 16.1 percent, merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 10.2 percent; and motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 10.5 percent.

For the fiscal year through April taxable sales are up 7.2 percent over the same period in the 2011 fiscal year.

Clark County was up 4.9 percent in April, while Washoe County eked out a small 0.2 percent gain. Thirteen of 17 Nevada counties reported gains in taxable sales in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the solid gains in April came even without a lot of shopping ahead of Easter, which fell on April 8 this year. Much of the Easter shopping came in March, he said.

“It did get a little bit warmer starting in March, so we saw a lot of purchases that people traditionally make when it starts getting warmer made a little bit earlier in the season than maybe last year,” he said. “All things considered April was a very good month.”

General merchandise stores were up 2.4 percent in April, clothing and accessories stores were up 1.8 percent, furniture and home furnishings were up 5 percent, and accommodations were up 13.4 percent.

The home furnishings increase, “is a great number, especially given our housing situation,” Wachter said. “The fact that that number has consistently remained up we view as positive.”

The accommodations number is good news, since Nevada needs its gaming and tourism industries to come back as well, he said.

Sales and use taxes collected from purchases are 4.2 percent ahead of projections for the state general fund for the fiscal year through April, meaning there is nearly $28 million more than was forecasted for the period.

Wachter said this will mean additional money for education and health and human services in the next budget cycle.

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said April was a good month for taxable sales:

062912Wachter1 :25 very good month.”

Wachter says the home furnishings increase is particularly good given the state of Nevada’s housing market:

062912Wachter2 :27 in that category.”

Campaign Launched Urging Congress To OK Internet Sales Tax Collections – Nevada Delegation Split

By Sean Whaley | 9:14 am May 31st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The National Retail Federation has launched a nationwide 60-day campaign to raise awareness among lawmakers and the public on how what it calls a loophole exempting online sales from sales tax is hurting local communities and job creation.

If Nevada’s five-member Congressional delegation is any indication, the group has its work cut out for it, with three members opposed and two supportive of the idea to allow states to tax online sales.

“Our current sales tax system unfairly favors one set of retailers over another,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Congress is naming winners and losers by its failure to address this issue, and the brick-and-mortar retailers who create jobs across our country want action on this issue now.”

Illustration by Pictofigo via Wikimedia Commons.

The national push, begun earlier this month, comes on the heels of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s agreement with Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes on Nevada online purchases beginning Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

The agreement also calls for the state and the Fortune 500 company to work together for immediate enactment of federal legislation that will address the needs of states, retailers and consumers by creating a simplified and equitable framework for sales tax collection.

But members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation are divided on the question.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., have previously said they oppose such legislation, called the “Main Street Fairness Act.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is also opposed.

“We need to ensure that Nevada’s small businesses have the tools they need to grow and create jobs without burdensome taxes and additional red tape,” she said in a statement issued Wednesday. “For this reason, I will continue to support unrestricted Internet sales in Nevada and throughout the U.S.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who participated in a hearing on the issue last year as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is open to the idea, depending on the specific wording of a measure that would come up for a vote.

The current system of ignoring Internet sales while collecting sales taxes from local retailers is an “artificial tax administration policy I don’t think anyone approved,” he said. “It just kind of happened. I would sure like to look at something.”

Retailers of all types should be playing on the same field for tax purposes, Amodei said.

A statement from the office of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he also supports giving states the authority to require online retailers to collect their sales tax.

Three Republican candidates seeking the 4th Congressional seat in the 2012 general election recently spoke in favor of such legislation in a debate on the Face To Face television program. Barbara Cegavske, Danny Tarkanian and Dan Schwartz all said they favored such legislation.

Sandoval estimates Nevada will receive between $15 million and $20 million a year under the agreement with Amazon, which mirrors those signed in several other states. Tax revenues to Nevada could total $200 million a year if all online purchases were assessed the state sales tax, he said. Nevada’s sales tax rate varies by county and ranges between 6.85 and 8.1 percent.

Sandoval recently said he pursued the agreement after the online sales tax collection issue was brought to him by the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), which praised the deal announced in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of Government Affairs for RAN, said the national campaign is aimed at educating the public and policy makers. While “mom and pop” stores on Main Street are required to collect the sales tax, Internet companies have been treated differently, he said.

“Even though they’re both doing the same amount of business for the same customers, they are treated as two different entities and we just think that needs to stop,” Wachter said. “Government should create level playing fields and allow the market to be able to decide what business model works and doesn’t work. And so that’s really the main focus of the E-Fairness campaign, is government should treat everybody the same. Fair is fair.”

The proposals in Congress are asking that states be allowed to decide if they want to collect sales taxes on internet sales, he said. A lot of states have budget problems right now that could be partially addressed with such revenue, Wachter said.

There are a lot of struggling businesses in Nevada that face an additional hurdle because of the sales tax issue, he said.

Shay said the federation will mobilize the retail industry, “so every retailer – regardless of whether they sell their merchandise online, through the mail or in a store on Main Street – can compete on a level playing field. This debate is about local retailers who make major contributions to their local communities being forced to operate in an unfair sales tax environment while out-of-state competitors are handed a huge advantage.”

The campaign includes an online petition that merchants and consumers can sign, a series of videos featuring small retailers talking about the competitive disadvantage they face, and print and online advertising in targeted states and congressional districts.

The sales tax issue was created by a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quill v. North Dakota that ruled that “remote sellers” – which include Internet, mail-order and “1-800” sellers on radio or television – can only be required to collect sales tax in states where they have a physical presence, such as their headquarters or a store or warehouse.

Shay said the court ruling means that most online sales go untaxed and has placed local retailers at a competitive price disadvantage. It also costs state and local governments an estimated $24 billion a year in tax revenues.

“Retail is retail, be it online or in a store,” he said. “All retailers should compete on a level playing field with the same set of sales tax rules. It is only fair.”

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter with the Retail Association of Nevada says the two types of businesses are being treated differently and the practice needs to stop:

053012Wachter1 :29 needs to stop.”

Wachter says government should treat everybody the same:

053012Wachter2 :14 Fair is fair.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas Ranks Fifth in Nation in Questionable Slip and Fall Claims

By Sean Whaley | 2:18 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – According to the latest report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Las Vegas ranks fifth in the nation for questionable slip-and-fall claims despite being only the 30th largest city in the United States.

Most businesses carry insurance to financially protect them should someone become injured as a result of a legitimate accident. However, criminals fake slip-and-fall injuries in order to submit fraudulent claims against the business or the business’s insurer.

“The cost of these claims goes into the cost we all pay for retail goods,” said Bryan Wachter, director of Government Affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada.

There are additional costs when courts are tied up with fraudulent or frivolous claims, and when business owners have to take time out to defend against them, he said.

According to Michael Geeser, president of the Nevada Insurance Council, fraudulent slip-and-fall claims raise the cost of insurance for everyone.

“We all pay the price when scammers strike,” he said. “Las Vegas being in the fifth spot given the size of the city certainly raises a red flag.”

The NICB noted that large retailers are not the only ones being hit with slip-and-fall scams. Small retailers have become a target of criminals who use a threat of litigation in order to get the small business to pay a cash amount to avoid being sued. In these cases, a person fakes an injury and then pretends to have paid for medical treatment. The store owner is given the choice of paying the “reimbursement” amount in cash or being sued.

Both Wachter and Geeser agree that such pay-outs only encourage more fraud.

“Small retailers need to be on the alert for these scams and promptly alert law enforcement to these kinds of extortion,” Wachter said.

“Of course, the consumer is the one who ultimately pays since retailers need to incorporate the cost of the insurance into the prices they charge for the products,” Geeser said. “Stopping such fraud is important to keeping a lid on costs.”

To compile this report, the NICB reviewed slip-and-fall questionable claims referred during the period of Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2010, there were 1,944 referrals; in 2011, there were 2,168 – an increase of 12 percent.

The five states generating the most slip-and-fall questionable claims from 2010-2011 were:  California (667); New York (280); Texas (245); Illinois (230) and Florida (286). The top five cities were:  New York (134); Los Angeles (127); Philadelphia (99); Chicago (63) and Las Vegas (62).

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada says it is unfortunate the problem is on the rise in Las Vegas:

050812Wachter1 :15 to be in.”

Wachter says it also takes court resources and time from business people who have to fight fraudulent claims:

050812Wachter2 :24 are huge costs.”

Wachter says it is important to highlight these issues for small business owners because of the costs involved:

050812Wachter3 :21 to pay you.”

Gov. Sandoval Defends Conservative Credentials, Says Online Sales Tax Revenue Is Matter of Fairness

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 8:31 pm April 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today that a recent deal announced with Amazon.com to collect sales taxes from on-line purchases in Nevada beginning in January 2014 is only the tip of the iceberg.

Tax revenues to Nevada could total $200 million a year if all on-line purchases were assessed the state sales tax, he said. Nevada’s sales tax rate varies by county but is between 6.85 and 8.1 percent.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Interviewed on Jon Ralston’s Face to Face television program, Sandoval said the voluntary agreement reached with Amazon could be the first step in an effort to collect the state sales tax from all on-line purchases. He also defended the move as not being a new tax for Nevada residents, but one they are supposed to pay anyway.

Sandoval said the agreement with Amazon, which could begin sooner if Congress acts to allow states to collect the tax from on-line retailers, is worth an estimated $16 million to $20 million a year.

“The universe could be up to $200 million in uncollected sales tax,” he said.

Sandoval said he pursued the agreement to help small businesses in Nevada, many of which are at a competitive disadvantage to on-line retailers. Sandoval said he has visited more than 150 businesses in Nevada and the advantage held by internet retailers is an issue that comes up frequently.

“You can drive down almost any street in the state of Nevada and see businesses that have closed,” he said.

Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent as of March.

The issue was brought to Sandoval by the Retail Association of Nevada, which praised the deal announced earlier this week. The same deal has been established by governors in other states, including Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina.

In the wide-ranging interview, Sandoval also defended his conservative fiscal credentials after announcing the extension of a set of taxes set to sunset on June 30, 2013, the Amazon deal that will increase costs to Nevada consumers and an economic plan that will dole out state funds for business expansion.

Sandoval said he decided to continue the sunsetting taxes to deal with an expanding Medicaid population and to avoid further cuts to education.

“I think it is important that we don’t start pitting senior citizens against kindergarteners,” he said. “I’m still a fiscal conservative and Nevadans are not going to be paying one cent more in taxes than the day I took office.”

As to his economic plan and the use of a $10 million catalyst fund to encourage business relocation and expansion, he said: “What we are doing is no different than the most conservative governors in the United States of America.”

Sandoval also  said he has received many phone calls from conservatives who are supportive of his decisions, but that not everyone will support all of his decisions as governor.

“If I am pleasing everybody, I am lying to somebody,” he said.

Sandoval also said he would “respectfully” decline any invitation from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his running mate. Sandoval said he intends to finish his term and run again for governor in 2014.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he reached a deal with Amazon to help Nevada small business:

042612Sandoval1 :22 a competitive disadvantage.”

Sandoval says he started with Amazon but the state can now move on to other on-line retailers:

042612Sandoval2 :15 uncollected sales tax.”

 

 

Nevada Posts Double-Digit Gains In Taxable Sales in February

By Sean Whaley | 4:32 pm April 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada consumers purchased $3.2 billion worth of taxable goods in February, a 10.2 percent increase over February 2011 and the 20th consecutive month of increases, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

A number of major taxable sales categories saw double-digit gains, including motor vehicles and parts dealers, up 22.9 percent; bars and restaurants, up 11.9 percent; furniture and home furnishings, up 15.4 percent, and general merchandise stores, up 16.9 percent.

Car dealership. / Photo by Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons.

Also seeing big increases were merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 18 percent; clothing and clothing accessories stores, up 11.3 percent; and accommodations, up 25.7 percent.

The only major category reflecting a decline was the construction industry, which was off 25.5 percent over February 2011.

Both Clark County, up 11.1 percent; and Washoe County, up 10.7 percent; saw double-digit gains.

Fourteen of Nevada’s seventeen counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for February 2012 compared to February 2011. Only Elko, Humboldt and White Pine Counties recorded a decrease.

Compared to the May 2011 Economic Forum projections and based on department analysis, the general fund portion of the sales and use taxes is approximately 4 percent or $21.2 million above its forecast for fiscal year 2012 through February.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the February report is encouraging for a number of reasons, including the big increase in the accommodations category, which reflects stronger tourism numbers.

Casino win numbers were strong in both January and February of this year.

“Very optimistic looking forward,” he said. “We’ve got reason to believe that March and April are going to be good months as well. We projected an increase in spending in the spring for Easter.”

The unseasonably warm weather has contributed to the increases in several of the categories, Wachter said.

One ongoing concern is Nevada’s 12 percent unemployment rate, he said.

“We’re still mildly concerned,” Wachter said. “We need to get people spending money and the best way to do that is to give them a job. But these numbers are worth being optimistic for.”

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada says the strong numbers should carry through March and April as well:

042612Wachter1 :12 spring for Easter.”

Wachter says Nevada’s 12 percent unemployment rate remains a concern but the February taxable sales report is cause for optimism:

042612Wachter2 :11 being optimistic for.”

 

 

Taxable Sales Post Modest But Broad 4.8 Percent Gain In January

By Sean Whaley | 4:14 pm March 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s taxable sales climbed 4.8 percent in January to $3.15 billion, with increases in all major consumer categories except construction, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

It was the 19th month of taxable sales increases in Nevada and brought the increase for the fiscal year 2012 to date to 7.2 percent. Taxable sales increased by 6.1 percent in Washoe County and 3.5 percent in Clark County in January.

The biggest increases were seen in clothing and clothing accessory stores, up 12.8 percent; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 8.1 percent; utilities, up 80.7 percent; bars and restaurants, up 2.4 percent; and merchant wholesalers-durable goods, up 8.2 percent.

Construction remained the weak link, down 17 percent in January over January 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the report provides more evidence that Nevada’s economy is on the mend. Nineteen months of increases is a great trend, not only for retailers but for the state as a whole, he said.

“We saw an increase in 15 of the 17 counties as well as in most categories,” Wachter said. “We’re not seeing sales tax increases in just general merchandise or just food, we’re seeing it across the board.

“We’ll be excited when construction can start matching those trends, but for now the fact that we’re posting gains in large purchases as well as small purchases – for instance we’re seeing gains in car purchases as well as general merchandise – that is something we feel is positive and a great trend moving forward,” he said.

The optimism is expected to carry forward through the spring.

The association earlier this week reported that Nevada consumers are projected to spend upwards of $290 million on holiday meals, gifts, candy, spring clothing and decorations, flowers and greeting cards to help celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, which falls on April 8 this year.

Peeps. / Photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons.

The annual Easter spending survey, commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), reported an increase in average spending per person of 11 percent in 2012 ($145.28) compared to last year ($131.04). The NRF attributes the rise to both unseasonably warm weather conditions in many parts of the country and improving consumer confidence levels.

Mary Lau, president of the Retail Association of Nevada, noted that Easter falls more than two weeks earlier than it did last year.

“Because Easter falls on vastly different calendar dates every year, the Easter displays in stores are a good reminder to consumers that the holiday is approaching and that it is time to start preparing to celebrate with family and friends,” she said.

Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says the January taxable sales increase was broad based:

032912Wachter4 :27 across the board.”

Wachter says until construction recovers, gains in small and large categories is a great trend:

032912Wachter2 :21 trend moving forward.”

Wachter says the association expects an increase in Easter discretionary purchases:

032912Wachter3 :30 excited about that.”

 

Holiday Spending Expected to be Up Despite Economic Downturn

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 6:36 am November 1st, 2011

Despite the state’s nation-leading unemployment, foreclosure, and bankruptcy rates, projections in Nevada point to a 6.4 percent increase in holiday spending this year, according to estimates by an information advisory firm.

“This projection of increased spending mirrors the growth seen in retail-specific sales during the first eight months of the year,” said Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis. “For several years, Nevada’s spending trailed national spending. This year, we believe that gap is beginning to close.”

According to the first Gallup holiday spending survey of the 2011 season, Americans expect to spend an average of $712 on Christmas gifts this year, which is essentially the same as the $715 projection issued last year.

However, this latest estimate remains significantly below pre-recession levels; in 2007, Americans estimated that they would spend an average of $909 per person. This figure dropped to $801 in 2008 and to $740 in 2009.

If Nevadans keep pace with this year’s national estimate of $712 per person, shoppers would spend an estimated $1.4 billion during the upcoming holiday season.

Mary Lau, president of the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) said that based on recent taxable sales data released in Nevada, “We believe that consumer spending may be in a healthier place than it was last year.”

The annual growth rate in total taxable sales (including retail-specific and non-retail categories) is 5.7 percent for the month of August and 6.2 percent for the year-to-date; both represent solid improvements compared to the prior year.

However, compared to the same month in 2007, total sales remain down 13.3 percent for the month and 17.6 percent year-to-date. Taken at face value, these are grim statistics, but a look at trends in retail-specific taxable sales categories reveals several bright spots.

Statewide

– Taxable sales of clothing and clothing accessories statewide are up 14 percent year-to-date (as of August) compared with the same period in both 2010 and 2007.

– Electronics and appliance store sales are up 9 percent year-to-date compared to 2010, and are almost on par with 2007 levels, trailing by just 3 percent.

– Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales are up 6 percent year-to-date compared to 2010 and down just 2 percent compared to the first eight months of 2007.

Clark County

– Sales of clothing and accessories are up 16 percent year-to-date compared to both 2010 and 2007.

– Sales at electronics and appliance stores are even with 2007 for the year-to-date and 14 percent higher than in the prior year.

Washoe County

– Recreation-related spending remains strong in the northern county, with sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales up 17 percent for the first eight months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2007; compared to the prior year, sales are up 2 percent.

– Sales by miscellaneous store retailers are up 20 percent compared to the year-to-date in 2007, and up 2 percent compared to the prior year.

– Clothing retailers are reporting sales for the year-to-date consistent with the prior year (up 1 percent) and 11 percent below 2007 levels; while negative, the change is not as severe as that faced by other categories.

Rural Nevada

– Sales reported by non-store retailers are up 14 and 15 percent compared to the year-to-date in 2010 and 2007, respectively.

– Rural county clothing retailers are reporting sales up 31 percent compared to the year-to-date in 2007, and up 5 percent compared to 2010.

– Sales of electronics and appliances are up 26 percent for the year-to-date compared to 2007, and are about even with the prior year.

Proposal Would Create Bottle-Deposit Program In Nevada

By Andrew Doughman | 3:41 pm April 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada could go the way of California in paying people to recycle bottles in a proposal being considered at the Legislature.

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, has a bill that would establish a bottle-deposit program whereby people could recycle bottles and cans in exchange for one nickel per container.

He said the bill creates an incentive for people to recycle, citing high rates of recycling in states with similar programs.

Ohrenschall said the price of soda and other beverages will not increase with the proposed program because people who recycle will recoup 5 cents per bottle.

Since Nevada would most likely not achieve a 100 percent recycling rate, the state would keep the extra money.

“I don’t consider it a tax because it’s a choice,” he said.

Nevada Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, presents a bill that would require deposits and refunds on certain beverage containers. Photo by Cathleen Allison/NevadaPhotoSource.com

Nevada’s Department of Environmental Protection estimates that the recycling rate in Nevada is less than 25 percent. In states where people can exchange bottles for cash, that rate is double or triple the rate in Nevada.

Ohrenschall said he is sponsoring the bill in order to reduce littering through an incentive for people to recycle. Right now, he said, there’s too much littering in Nevada’s deserts.

“I think the desert is beautiful,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a wasteland.”

The bill does have a start-up cost for the state, the cost of which can vary with amendments to the bill.

Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, said he has seen a similar program in Michigan, where he used to live.

“If the consumer pays an extra dime per can, he or she is then incentivized to return the can and be redeemed for that value,” Goedhart said. “I believe it is a pass-through. It is put on consumers’ backs and they get their money back at that point of time.”

Representatives from the Retail Association of Nevada and beverage companies testified against the bill before the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee.

Some committee members seemed upset with the opposition because large beverage companies like MillerCoors continue to operate in states with bottle-deposit laws.

“I’m always sort of amazed, we have a bill here that’s modeled on another state,” said Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas. “…and yet you come here and tell us we’ll all get boils and die a horrible death if this bill is passed.”

Environmental groups and the Nevada Farm Bureau testified in support of the bill.

Several Assembly members had questions about the bill, including many about whether it was best to let recycling centers or retail stores collect the bottles and pay people for their bottles.

The bill will mostly likely return to the Assembly committee with amendments for further consideration.

 

 

 

 

Union Group Finds Support For Public Workers In Poll

By Andrew Doughman | 12:08 pm March 30th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A poll released today shows that most Nevadans hold government workers in high regard.

Nevadans for Nevada, a collective of largely public sector unions, hired Grove Insight to conduct the poll of 500 registered voters.

The poll, which was conducted last week, comes as the salaries, benefits and contracts of unions and public sector workers are increasingly in the public spotlight.

Nick Di Archangel, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, said that public workers needed to gauge public opinion in lieu of high-profile legislative battles like the one still unfolding in Wisconsin.

“I’ve worked in news for 20 years,” Di Archangel said. “I’ve never seen labor covered like this. … With so much scrutiny on labor unions, it was crucial to find out where people fell.”

Nevada’s Legislature is considering several budget proposals that would reduce salaries for public employees. Legislators may also change how public employees bargain for contracts as well as what they pay into retirement and benefit plans.

Di Archangel said the poll shows that most Nevadans hold favorable views of public employees.

The pollsters for Grove Insight worded the question this way:

“Please tell me overall, do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neutral, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impressions of public employees?”

Among the 500 voters who answered, 61 percent held favorable views of public employees, 22 had a neutral opinion, 11 percent had an unfavorable view and 6 percent had no opinion.

In a press release from Nevadans for Nevada, the union group also highlighted that their poll supports raising taxes.

The question on the poll read:

“Right now, Nevada is facing a ONE-POINT FIVE billion dollar budget shortfall. Governor Brian Sandoval has refused to consider any compromise that includes raising some taxes – even if that means deep cuts to local schools. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Sandoval’s position?”

While 12 percent remained neutral, 31 percent approved of the governor’s position while 57 percent disapproved.

The union poll follows recent polls from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Association of Nevada.

Read the union poll here.