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Oklahoma tax revenue falls behind; sales tax collections show gain

A decline in Oklahoma tax revenue isn't because of economic factors, state finance officials say. Higher oil prices and increased drilling activity last year allowed for the gross production tax on oil to start going into the state's main operating fund much quicker than expected.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: December 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012

Total tax collections in November for Oklahoma were down from the same month a year ago, but the decline wasn't because of economic factors, state finance officials said Tuesday.

Tax collections to the state's general revenue fund, its main operating fund, were $369 million, a decrease from a year ago of $55 million, or 13 percent.

Receipts for the month fell short of the estimate by $28.1 million, or 7.1 percent.

The decline is tied to the general revenue fund receiving no funds this year from the gross production taxes on oil because of lower oil prices, state financial officials said.

Because of increased drilling and relatively high oil prices last year, the gross production tax on oil came in significantly above estimates.

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.

On the bright side, Oklahoma consumers stayed the course in November as sales tax collections for the month came in 8.4 percent higher than a year ago, state Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said.

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