Tax revenues in April were lower than expected, but Oklahoma Treasurer Scott Meacham last week said he is optimistic that the worst revenue plunge in decades is abating.

Collections last month totaled $512.3 million, only 0.2% less than in April 2009 and slightly more than expected by the revenue estimate that was revised in February.

“Earlier this fiscal year, monthly collections were falling more than 30% below prior year collections and the estimate,” Meacham said. “It appears the state turned a corner in February and, in spite of slightly lower income tax numbers in April, we believe that trend continues.”

The treasurer said he was particularly pleased to see improvement in monthly sales tax collections over the previous year for the first time since April 2009.

“It’s not quite time to sing 'Happy Days Are Here Again,’ but we are seeing signs of recovery in Oklahoma’s economy,” he said.

Sales tax revenue in April totaled $133.3 million, which was $8 million more than in April 2009 but $200,000 less than the revised estimate.

Net income tax revenues were $249.6 million, which was $32.3 million less than in April 2009 and $68.3 million less than was expected.

The gross production tax on crude oil and natural gas brought in $53.9 million, which was $21.4 million above April 2009 revenue and $38.3 million more than projected.

Revenue for the first 10 months of fiscal 2010 totaled $3.74 billion. Total collections are $976.5 million below the same period of fiscal 2009 and $808.5 million less than the official estimate.

Meacham said April revenues were sufficient to provide the regular monthly allocations to state agencies.

He said the state would use $191 million from April revenues to reimburse funds that were drawn down to maintain services earlier in the fiscal year. 

The state had already reimbursed $86 million to the funds, with another $44 million now remaining to be paid back to those funds before the fiscal year ends July 1.

Meacham said he expects May revenue to be sufficient for the necessary reimbursement.

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