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Oklahoma tax revenue gets boost from Christmas shoppers

A record amount of state sales tax was collected in December, Oklahoma officials say.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013

Christmas shoppers helped produce a record amount of monthly sales tax collections in Oklahoma and make up for lower gross production taxes on oil and natural gas, state finance officials said Tuesday.

Sales tax receipts for December amounted to $172 million, state Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said. The previous monthly high was $165.4 million, in June.

The December sales tax collections were $18.6 million, or 12.1 percent, more than the same month a year ago.

Through December, monthly sales tax increases over the previous year have averaged nearly 9 percent, Doerflinger said.

Total collections for the general revenue fund, the state's main operating fund, in December were $528.9 million, a decrease from a year ago of $13.5 million, or 2.5 percent. Receipts for the month exceeded the estimate by $14.4 million, or 2.8 percent.

The general revenue fund is made up of about 70 revenue sources and is where all revenue from state taxes and fees goes, except for funds earmarked or dedicated to specific programs.

Total general revenue fund collections for the first half of fiscal year 2013, or through Dec. 31, are $2.7 billion, which is $43.9 million, or 1.6 percent, less than total collections for the same period a year ago.

But the amount is $47.5 million, or 1.8 percent, higher than the estimate that this year's budget is based on.

Gross production tax collections on oil and natural gas fell $46.4 million, or 84.8 percent, in December compared with the same month the previous year.

For the six-month period, gross production tax collections on oil and gas are down almost $231 million.

The first $150 million in oil revenue each fiscal year is dedicated to three separate education funds; collections last year hit that benchmark in October, two months earlier than expected.

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