Strong revenues over the last few months will help put more than the expected $71 million into Oklahoma’s rainy-day fund, which now contains a total of $2.03.
State officials said earlier this year that $71.1 million would flow into the Constitutional Reserve Fund at the end of fiscal 2011, but finance director Preston Doerflinger said last week that more may be coming in when the fiscal year ends June 30.
“It could easily double that amount,” Doerflinger said. “The outlook continues to be bright for the Oklahoma economy, barring something catastrophic on the national level.”
The budget stabilization fund reached its constitutional limit of $596.6 million in fiscal 2009, but it was depleted to balance budgets in fiscal 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The fund receives a deposit whenever tax collections exceed the official estimate.
The total fund had been limited to 10% of certified general revenues, but voters in November 2010 raised the cap to 15% of annual revenues.
Revenues have not exceeded estimates since fiscal 2009.
The latest state financial report shows $4.5 billion of revenue so far in fiscal 2011, almost 10% higher than the same period of fiscal 2010.
Doerflinger said that the increase in income tax collections reflects a drop in the state’s unemployment rate to 5.6% in April, well below the national average of 9%.
“It’s evident that Oklahoma companies have stepped up hiring for months, and this is helping our receipts in all areas,” he said.
Net income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, totaled $233.27 million in May, up 16% from May 2010.