State general revenue fund collections improved slightly in October, despite the 16-day federal government shutdown that caused many federal workers in Oklahoma to be temporarily furloughed.
“It was a solid state revenue month that would have been stronger if the federal government shutdown hadn't taken a slice of the pie away,” said Preston Doerflinger, secretary of finance, administration and information technology. “Everyone would feel a lot better if D.C. demonstrated an ability to address fiscal issues without the economically reckless, job-killing stalemates that we've seen of late.”
General revenue fund collections for October totaled $448.3 million, which was $9.4 million or 2.1 percent above October collections last year, but $285,835 or 0.1 percent below the official projection.
Alex Weintz, spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, agreed revenues likely would have been higher if not for the federal government shutdown.
“The constant uncertainty coming from the federal government is not helping Oklahoma's economy or our revenue collections,” Weintz said. “Regardless of this month's revenue collections, the governor's message to state agencies continues to be the same: we must focus on saving taxpayer dollars and finding efficiencies in state government.”
Collections for the first four months of this fiscal year continue to trail collections from a year ago.
General revenue fund collections for July through October totaled $1.7 billion, which was $44.7 million or 2.5 percent below collections from a year earlier. Those totals are 6.2 percent below the official revenue estimate upon which the budget for the current fiscal year is based.
“Collections are still off a bit, but they're trending back in the right direction and remain sufficient to continue current fiscal year funding without interruption,” Doerflinger said.
The general revenue fund, which receives money from nearly 70 revenue sources, is where state taxes and fees flow that are not dedicated to specific projects. The Legislature appropriates the money to fund state government.
“We still expect modest revenue growth in the months ahead, but likely not enough to produce a big pot of new money for state government,” Doerflinger said. “Agencies should stay frugal this year and plan for the same next year, as flat budgets remain possible for most areas of state government.”
Following is a breakdown of October state general fund revenues from some of the primary funding sources:
• Individual income tax — $194 million. Those collections were $8.1 million or 4.3 percent more than the prior year and $29.4 million or 17.9 percent above the projection.
• Corporate income tax — $4 million. Those collections were $14 million or 77.9 percent less than the previous year and $14.8 million or 78.8 percent below the estimate.
• Sales tax — $159 million. Sales tax collections that went to the general fund were $5.4 million or 3.5 percent more than the previous year and $4.8 million or 2.9 percent below the projection.
• Gross production tax — $11 million. Gross production tax revenues came entirely from natural gas production. The amount was $6.1 million or 126.1 percent more than the amount collected a year earlier, but missed the monthly projection by $3.7 million or 25.3 percent. No oil production revenues were received by the general fund due to statutes that direct the first $150 million in oil production revenues to specific funds, mostly related to education.
• Motor vehicle taxes — $16.6 million. October motor vehicle tax revenues for the general fund were $2.1 million or 11.2 percent below prior year collections and $2.7 million or 14 percent less that the estimate.
• Other revenue — $63.7 million. General fund collections from other revenue sources were $5.9 million or 10.1 percent above prior year collections and $3.8 million or 5.6 percent below projections.