Clark County sales tax revenue grew in November. Was that from Formula One?

A preliminary economic impact report released on Jan. 24 found that visitors during Formula One week spent $561 million.

Total taxable sales for the county have grown since the pandemic faster than the pace of inflation, economists said. Tax receipts in November 2023 were 68 percent higher than November 2016 — the year in which visitor volume peaked for the region at nearly 43 million visitors. Meanwhile, inflation rose about 17 percent in that same period, Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV, said.

That suggests fewer visitors contributed to the higher sales tax rates, all while the region’s population grew. It’s a connection that can also be seen in the growing average daily room rates shown in monthly visitation reports, despite a stagnating visitor volume.

“This is in line with (the trend that) consumers are less sensitive to prices than they have in the past,” Woods said. “That’s been a pretty steady trend and partly why inflation has been as sticky as it’s been. As much as we don’t want to pay higher prices, we’re paying higher prices and we’re still buying things.”

Aguero and Woods said that higher spending trends typically suggest a pullback in consumer spending is coming. And though the taxable sales are higher for the county overall, Woods and Aguero both noted that individual businesses may not have could have seen record sales levels of their own.

“Just because people are paying more in hotel rooms, it may not spill over into the entire valley,” Woods said.

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