Nevada's Economic Boom Continues - Sunday 29th of January 2006

by Ed Vogel

CARSON CITY, Nevada Nevada's economic boom continued in November as businesses reported their sales increased by 9.9 percent compared with November 2004, the Department of Taxation reported Wednesday.

But sales missed the coveted 10 percent mark for the third consecutive month. October sales were up 9.3 percent from the same month in 2004, while September sales showed a 9.8 percent increase compared with the previous year.

That had followed a stretch of 23 out of 24 months when the sales increase was above 10 percent.

Businesses in November sold goods with a taxable value of $3.74 billion, a $368 million increase over the $3.402 billion in sales in November 2004. Clark County paced the state with sales of $2.756 billion up 8.9 percent from the $2.531 billion in sales a year earlier.

With gold prices at a 25-year high, rural counties led all counties in percentage growth in sales.

Eureka County sales increased 138 percent; Storey County sales rose 130 percent.

White Pine, Lander, Lincoln and Esmeralda counties all posted sales increases of more than 50 percent.

The Taxation Department reported total statewide purchases by metal mining companies were 47 percent higher than November 2004.

Gold was selling Wednesday in New York markets at $562 per ounce. State mining officials said earlier this month the high price has spawned a boom in exploration. A single piece of mining equipment purchased in sparsely populated counties can double taxable sales there.

Because of the boom, the state was able to collect $76 million in sales taxes in November, up 10.3 percent from the previous year. In the first five months of the fiscal year, Nevada collected $397 million in sales taxes, an 11.4 percent increase.

About one-third of state government revenue comes from sales taxes. So far collections are $9 million above forecasts of the Economic Forum, the group of five business executives who determine how much money state government can spend.

Compared with Economic Forum forecasts made last May, cigarette tax revenue is 0.18 percent above estimates; liquor taxes 6.14 percent above projections; and the live-entertainment taxes 10.3 percent below projections.

"Nevada continues to show strong financial growth, thanks in large part to our efforts to diversify our economy," Gov. Kenny Guinn said in a statement.

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