Twelve of Nevada’s 17 counties reported increased taxable sales.
Nevada merchants sold $4.2 billion in goods, and the state collected gross sales and use taxes of $324.8 million. Tax collections for the month were up about 3 percent from the previous year.
The portion of that tax collection that goes to finance state government totaled $82.5 million, up 2 percent from December 2010.
Sectors of Nevada’s vital tourism industry posted strong gains in December. Sales at bars and restaurants rose 8.8 percent, while accommodations increased 13.3 percent.
In Clark County, the state’s economic and tourism hub, sales of nearly $3 billion were up 9.5 percent over the same month last year. Sales rose 8.4 percent at bars and restaurants and 14.2 percent for accommodations. But amusement, gambling and recreation industries saw only a slight increase of 1.8 percent.
Northern Nevada’s Washoe County, which includes Reno, had sales totaling $579.3 million, an increase of 6.1 percent.
Statewide, other industries posting notable increases included clothing and accessories, up 12.9 percent; durable goods, up 14.2 percent; motor vehicles and parts, up 15.3 percent; and food and beverages stores, up 5.2 percent.
Nevada’s struggling construction industry also rose 23.6 percent, welcome news in a state that leads the nation in unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures that are tied to collapse of the state’s housing market and construction jobs.
Elsewhere in Nevada, sales were up 5.5 percent in Carson City, 8.8 percent in Douglas County, 43.7 percent in Lyon County, and 69.5 percent in Churchill County.
Sales fell in rural Elko, Humboldt, Nye, Storey and White Pine counties.
For the fiscal year that began July 1, the portion of sales and use tax collections that fund state government were $12.8 million, or 3.1 percent, above projections made in May by the independent Economic Forum.
The forum is an appointed panel of fiscal experts that forecasts revenues on which the state budget is based.
Besides sales and use taxes, the department also took in $92 million in modified business taxes, which are collected quarterly. The December collections represent a 7.6 percent decline compared with the same quarter last year, due in part to a tax break for small businesses that was included in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget and approved by lawmakers in 2011.
Other miscellaneous levies show revenue from taxes on tobacco products are off about $350,000 during the first six months of the fiscal year from projections made by the Economic Forum, while the tax on liquor is $1.3 million above forecasts. The $678,000 collected from the live entertainment tax is 2.5 percent higher than projected through the first six months.