Oklahoma City continues to see superlative sales tax revenue growth

Oklahoma City's sales tax receipts for September were 14 percent above projections, according to a city memo. The continued strong growth is unprecedented in recent memory.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: October 2, 2012
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Sales tax revenue in Oklahoma City is continuing to grow at a level that is unprecedented in recent years.

Sales tax collections for September came in at 14 percent above projections, according to a city memo. The city is already more than $5 million ahead of where it expected to be in sales and use tax collections this fiscal year, which began July 1.

“Statewide, things are doing very well in Oklahoma right now,” city Budget Director Doug Dowler said.

But Oklahoma City stands out even when compared to other cities. Oklahoma City's year-to-date sales tax revenue growth rate of about 11 percent is second only to Edmond's 20 percent among cities in the metro area, and also above Tulsa's growth rate of about 10 percent.

Superlative growth

Oklahoma City saw similar sales tax revenue growth for a few months in 2010 after a large hailstorm devastated much of the metro area. But other than that period and one month that featured an artificially high number because of a change in the way cities reported sales tax revenue, Oklahoma City hasn't seen anything similar in many years.

“Going all the way back to 2000, we had one month in '06 where we had a 19 percent gain,” Dowler said. “Those are really the only times we've had growth like that.”

A hailstorm late this spring did contribute to some strong growth in construction materials purchases, but the financial impact of that storm was nowhere near that of the storm two years ago, Dowler said.