Taxable sales rise slowly in Douglas

Taxable sales for Douglas County rose 4.8 percent for the first seven months of fiscal 2005-06. When compared to the month of January 2005 figures, taxable sales in January 2006 rose 1.2 percent.

Those figures reflect markets in just over 80 categories in Douglas County, everything from agricultural products to motion pictures.

Year-to-date figures from the Nevada Department of Taxation show a 6.7-percent drop in general merchandise stores and another 3.7 percent drop in car dealers and gasoline. Those decreases were offset by increases in apparel and accessory stores and wholesale trade in nondurable goods.

Sales in livestock production saw a 7.1 percent decrease in the Valley, but agricultural services experienced a 9.5 percent increase.

Statewide figures show an 11.6 percent increase the first seven months of the fiscal year, which ends July 1, 2006. For the month of January, that figure rose 11.9 percent when compared to the previous year.

Sales taxes impact consolidated tax distribution in Douglas County, a critical revenue source that provides about 42 percent of the general fund's revenues.

The general fund is Douglas County's largest, funding traditional government services like law enforcement, the courts, district attorney, assessor, clerk, treasurer, recorder, comptroller, finance and accounting and more, according information in the Douglas County budget.

Distributed by the state, consolidated taxes are generated through a number of sources, including the basic county/city relief tax, state county/city relief tax, motor vehicle privilege tax, real property transfer tax, cigarette tax and liquor tax.

About 78.1 percent of the total taxes distributed by the state to Douglas County are derived from the first two, according to Douglas County officials. January's state city/county taxes actually dropped a half a percent when compared the previous year in Douglas County, from $89,100 to $88,700.

To date, state county and city relief has contributed almost $8.4 million through the consolidated taxes. Another $2.5 million came from basic city and county relief tax and the balance, about $2.6 million, comes from the other taxes for a total of $13.44 million, according to figures from Nevada's State Department of Taxation.

All counties levy a minimum rate of 6.5 percent sales tax in Nevada, divided as follows:

Two percent goes to the state's general fund. That portion is called the Sales tax distribution component.

Another 2.25 percent is used to support local schools.

A .5 percent basic city/county relief tax and 1.75 percent supplemental city/county relief tax complete the 6.5 percent total, those two redistributed among the counties by the Nevada Department of Taxation based on a formula.

By law, counties can levy additional sales taxes for specifics like infrastructure, public transit, road repair and maintenance, libraries, parks, recreation, senior citizens or agriculture.

Funding promotion of tourism or preservation of open space can also be provided through these taxes. A .25 percent increase is estimated to generate $2.65 million.

Douglas County implemented an additional .25 percent county-optional sales tax rate for parks, airport, libraries and senior services in 1999.

Most of these additional sales taxes require voter approval, the exception being infrastructure tax for county water, wastewater and flood projects.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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