Sales tax revenues fall in March

The city’s sales tax report from the Oklahoma Tax Commission this month shows another decrease against budget estimates by city officials.

The shortage — less than 1 percent — is one of the lesser ones in a year of shortfalls.

Overall, this year’s sales tax revenue has been 2.56 percent behind budget expectations, leaving the city $5.25 million short.

The use tax, a similar but less substantial revenue alongside sales tax, is also underperforming. It is 3 percent, or $64,018, behind budget estimates this month and 2.28 percent, or $461,170, behind expectations for the year.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission’s April report reflects sales in Tulsa from mid-February to mid-March.

Although the $21.5 million that came in was slightly short of estimates, it was actually a significant increase over the same period last year, when $19.9 million came in. The increase is 8 percent.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and his staff are planning to present a draft of next year’s budget to the City Council on April 26, Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Jack Blair said.

The Mayor’s Office staff has been working on preparing a budget that initially included a $5 million gap between projected revenue and expenses.

On top of the $5 million gap between revenue and basic expenses, city officials are looking at about $8 million of extra expenditures that the City Council and Mayor’s Office agreed on as spending priorities.

Blair told city councilors last month that next year’s budget plan to bridge that funding gap is focusing on fee adjustments to “better reflect the cost of services.”

After the mayor presents the budget April 26, the council will have until June 23 to finalize the budget for submission to the state before the fiscal year begins July 1.