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Tax revenue on the rise in Oklahoma City

After a decline in sales tax revenue in 2010, Oklahoma City is back to making gains this year. The MAPS 3 sales tax receipts also are higher than expected.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: July 8, 2011

Residents, businesses and visitors in Oklahoma City spent more money last year, boosting the city's sales tax revenue.

Tax revenue dipped sharply in fiscal year 2010 to a little more than $324 million as the recession hit Oklahoma City, city figures show. But it jumped by more than 12 percent in fiscal year 2011, which ended last month, putting more than $364 million into the city budget.

The jump is about 4 percent above revenue in fiscal year 2009, the last year before the recession hit. It's a step in the right direction, even if it doesn't mean Oklahoma City has bounced all the way back quite yet, city budget director Craig Freeman said.

“It's definitely better than what we had anticipated,” Freeman said. “But it doesn't put us back on course for where we would have been if we had normal growth (in 2010).”

The jump also has benefited MAPS 3, with actual revenue exceeding projections by about 8 percent so far. Since April 2010, the city has raised more than $94 million of the estimated $777 million needed for the eight MAPS 3 projects.

But the big jump in the last fiscal year can be attributed at least partly to bad news: the devastating May 2010 hailstorm that pummeled Oklahoma City but left much of the rest of the metro area unscathed.

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