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Oklahoma coffers grow despite lost energy tax revenue

The final report for the end of fiscal year 2012 showed Oklahoma's general revenue increased almost 8 percent over fiscal year 2011, despite a nearly 12 percent drop in taxes paid by energy companies.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Modified: July 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm •  Published: July 10, 2012

Despite Oklahoma natural gas companies paying a pittance in gross production taxes in June, the state closed the fiscal year with $405 million more in general revenue than in fiscal year 2011 and topped revenue predictions for the year.

The increased state revenue was driven by gains in income tax and sales tax revenues, which increased by 13 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, according to a report released Tuesday by the Office of State Finance. In total, the state brought in $5.543 billion for fiscal year 2012, compared to $5.138 billion the previous fiscal year.

However, gross production tax — the tax on oil and natural gas that varies based on the market price of each commodity — was down almost 12 percent this fiscal year compared to 2011.

“This preliminary report drives home the role consumer confidence has played in Oklahoma's economic recovery,” state Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said in a statement Tuesday. “In June and at other times during the year, strong sales taxes helped ease energy tax variances due to low prices and tax rebates.”

Due to an anomaly in June, natural gas companies contributed nothing to the general revenue fund.

“June tax collections from natural gas totaled $15.3 million, but, after refunds of $12.3 million, contributed nothing to the general revenue fund,” the report states.

The refunds are tax credits or incentives given to natural gas companies. The remaining $3 million went to state coffers other than general revenue, said Shelly Paulk, deputy budget director and revenue analyst for the Office of State Finance.

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