Oklahoma has best July in history for tax revenue

State Treasurer Ken Miller, talking about the surging state economy, says “we’re still doing fine, Oklahoma.”
by Rick Green Modified: August 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: August 6, 2014
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Oklahoma collected more tax revenue last month than any July in state history and the unemployment rate remains well below the national average as the economy continues to surge.

“With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, we’re still doing fine, Oklahoma,” state Treasurer Ken Miller said in a news conference Wednesday.

Gross receipts in July topped $992 million, up $68 million, or 7.4 percent, from July 2013. Gross income tax collections showed a 13.4 percent jump and the state’s tax revenue on oil and natural gas production grew by 11.1 percent.

Monthly collections have been higher than the previous year in all but six months during the past four-and-a-half years, Miller said.

The unemployment rate for June, the most recent figure available, was 4.5 percent, compared to a national rate of 6.1 percent.

While state revenue is growing, it remains exceedingly difficult to look into the crystal ball and predict future revenues. Good predictions are essential to accurately create state budgets and ensure there is enough money to fund budgeted expenditures. The last yearly estimate was too large.

General revenue for the 2014 fiscal year fell short of the official estimate by $283.8 million, or 4.8 percent. Corporate income taxes were $306.5 million for the year, which was below the estimate by $175.3 million, or 36.4 percent.

Miller said the Oklahoma Tax Commission has “a Herculean task” in trying to predict state revenue.

Corporate income tax revenue can vary widely depending on business decisions and oil and gas production tax revenue swings with petroleum prices.

Oklahoma State economics professor Dan Rickman works with the commission to estimate revenue. Miller said an additional independent forecast is to be sought from another economist. There also may be consideration of putting together a multiyear revenue forecast.

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by Rick Green
Capitol Bureau Chief
Rick Green is the Capitol Bureau Chief of The Oklahoman. A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., he worked as news editor for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City before joining The Oklahoman.
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