Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008 | 3:21 p.m.
What do you do in a slumping economy? You don't furnish your home. You do, apparently, drink more alcohol and eat away your woes.
Sales tax collection in November was down 1.3 percent compared to last year, according to figures released today.
Sales of home furniture and furnishings were down 13.5 percent compared to last year, likely caused by the bad housing market.
But there were some bright spots. Tax on liquor was 4 percent above projections. And sales at food and beverage stores were up 14 percent compared to last year.
Sales tax is one of the major revenue sources of the state's budget, and the slump has Gov. Jim Gibbons' administration forecasting a $542 million shortfall over the biennium. State departments have been ordered to cut 4.5 percent and Gibbons has dipped into the state's rainy day fund and delayed some projects to offset the shortfall.
The November sales tax numbers are in line with the state's updated projections, budget director Andrew Clinger said.
Between July and November, sales taxes were 7.7 percent less than what had been forecast in May. The state budget division has revised projections down 7.1 percent.
Gibbons' budget staff "do not anticipate any more spending reductions or additional use of the rainy day fund," Clinger said in an e-mail.