Oklahoma total tax revenues dip below last year

State treasurer says markedly lower gross production tax collections on oil and natural gas are the main reason for the dip. Otherwise, the state had healthy collections, he said.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: September 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012

The state's monthly total tax revenue collections fell below the previous year's amount for the third time in the past six months, state Treasurer Ken Miller said Thursday.

The state's overall economy seems to be doing well, with the lower figures mostly attributable to lower collections on natural gas and oil production, he said.

Total revenue collections, a reflection of the performance of the state's economy, came in for August about 2.8 percent below August of last year, Miller said. Collections on oil and natural gas production are 53.7 percent lower for the month.

However, sales tax collections are up by 10.4 percent, he said.

“Spending by businesses and consumers continues to be strong,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, the growth in that area is insufficient to keep the overall trend from dipping into negative territory again.”

Gross production collections on oil and natural gas have been lower than the prior year for nine consecutive months.

“Low unemployment continues to strengthen personal income, which in turn continues to boost purchases, but weak gross production collections drag down an otherwise healthy report,” he said.

August personal income tax collections are also lower than the same month a year ago for a second time in three months, Miller said. As with June collections, the downturn is in withholding taxes remitted by businesses for hourly and salaried employees. Also as with June, withholding remittances for August are 6.2 percent lower than the prior year.

However, Oklahoma Tax Commission officials indicate the drop in withholding taxes is an anomaly due to remittance deadlines set by the Internal Revenue Service, he said.

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