State revenues fell again in March

Tax collections for the Oklahoma state treasury in March fell below collections from March of last year following two months in which receipts showed marginal growth, according to State Treasurer Ken Miller.

March collections of $915 million were down by $25.5 million, or 2.7 percent, compared to March 2016 receipts. In January and February, collections grew by a combined total of $6.1 million, or 0.4 percent. Prior to January, monthly receipts had been less than the same month of the prior year for 20 consecutive months.

Miller said collections from crude oil and natural gas gross production taxes provided a bright spot in the monthly report as March receipts were more than double collections from the prior year and were the highest March total in two years. March gross production receipts were $47.9 million, up by $24.2 million, or 102.2 percent.

“March gross receipts notwithstanding, leading indicators continue to show Oklahoma’s economy is slowly on the mend,” Miller said. “The average decline in gross receipts has slowed and the unemployment rate is shrinking as rig counts rise along with business conditions and consumer confidence.”

During March, collections from corporate income and sales taxes were less than the prior year. In addition to gross production taxes, individual income and motor vehicle taxes also showed growth.

Gross receipts during the past 12 months, at $10.8 billion, are $632.8 million, or 5.6 percent, less than collections during the prior 12-month period. All major revenue streams show contraction compared to the prior period.

March was the first month in which online retailer Amazon began collecting use tax on online purchases by Oklahomans; however, it will not start remitting those collections to the state until April. Due to confidentiality laws, the amounts reported by Amazon will not be public record.

For a second consecutive month, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in February was lower than the U.S. rate. That follows eight straight months in which the state jobless rate was higher than the average national rate. The February state jobless rate was set at 4.6 percent, while the U.S. rate was reported as 4.7 percent.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $47.9 million during March, an increase of $24.2 million, or 102.2 percent, from last March. Compared to February reports, gross production collections are up by $10 million, or 26.3 percent, over the month.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $68.3 million, up by $3.2 million, or 4.9 percent, from the prior year.

During the last 12 months, gross revenue totals $10.8 billion. That is $632.8 million, or 5.6 percent, below collections from the preceding 12-month period. Gross income taxes generated $3.9 billion for the April 2016-March 2017 period, reflecting a drop of $416.2 million, or 9.7 percent, from the preceding period, April 2015-March 2016.

Individual income tax collections total $3.5 billion, down by $231.2 million, or 6.2 percent, from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $384.4 million for the period, a decrease of $185 million, or 32.5 percent, from the previous 12 months.