DALLAS — Steady growth in Oklahoma’s revenue collection is a sign that its economy is strengthening, Treasurer Ken Miller said Tuesday.
Revenues have been on an upward trend over the last 18 months, punctuated by last month’s collections, which topped September 2010’s total by 7.1%, Miller said at a news conference.
“Healthy increases in all revenue streams show the state’s economy is still healing nicely from the recession,” Miller said. “Basically, this report shows more of the same, which is a good thing. It means Oklahoma’s economy continues on a positive trajectory and external threats to our well-being have been kept at bay.”
Gross collections in September of $960.4 million were $64 million above September 2010, Miller said. State revenue over the past 12 months totals $10.43 billion, the highest 12-month total since the $10.57 billion posted in June 2009
Miller said he was encouraged by the 7% increase in collections, despite month-to-month revenue increase of more than 15% in June and August.
“We can’t expect to see double-digit growth on an ongoing basis, but absent a second global economic contraction, we have every reason to remain bullish on Oklahoma’s economy,” Miller said. “Our fundamentals are strong.”
The state’s unemployment rate held steady at the 5.6% level posted in July, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, significantly less than the 9.1% national rate. Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment is down from 7% in August 2010.
The income tax generated $384.6 million in September, including $272.2 million of personal income tax collections. The total is up $27.4 million from last September. Sales tax revenues totaled $332.8 million, a $21 million increase.
Other revenue sources include $87.6 million from oil and gas production taxes, $55.4 million from motor vehicle taxes, and $136 million from taxes on horse-race betting, alcohol and tobacco.
Oil and gas tax revenue was up almost 12% from September 2010, but down from the 40% monthly increase posted in August. Miller said the lower revenue is a sign that energy prices are moderating.
September’s production collections reflect oil and gas prices and sales volumes from up to three months ago, he said.
“Five months ago, crude oil was selling for more than $110 per barrel,” Miller said. “Since then, prices have decreased. Natural gas prices have also trended downward since June and the weaker prices will be reflected in our collections.”
Over the past 12 months that ended Sept. 30, the state income tax has generated $3.57 billion, up $309.3 million from the previous 12 months. Sales tax collections of $3.78 billion over the period are up by $279 million.