DALLAS – Bad fiscal news keeps rolling through Oklahoma as the Sooner State marked its 18th month of falling revenues.
With gross receipts in August falling 4% below the same month last year, Oklahoma also registered unemployment numbers in August that surpassed the national rate for the first time in nearly 26 years, state Treasurer Ken Miller said Tueday.
"We keep scouring through the data to find signs of an impending turnaround, but it's just not there," Miller said. "Some aspects of the August report aren't as negative as in prior months – a few revenue streams have ticked up slightly – but we can't yet point to a positive trend."
Collections from gross production taxes on oil and natural gas increased from the prior month for the fourth consecutive time, reflecting a slight rebound in wellhead prices. However, compared to the prior year, receipts remain suppressed, Miller said.
Revenues for September could be impaired by a shutdown of 37 injection wells following Oklahoma's largest recorded earthquake Sept. 3. Researchers have attributed an unprecedented series of earthquakes to injection wells used to dispose of wastewater used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in the state. The magnitude 5.6 quake that struck central Oklahoma was deemed slightly larger than the previous record that struck near the town of Prague in 2011.
Falling oil prices from a peak of more than $100 per barrel to a low of $27 helped produce a $1.3 billion budget shortfall that the Oklahoma Legislature had to reduce in its 2016 session. Although oil futures have rebounded to about $45 per barrel, many producers are still sidelined amid a supply glut and dozens of bankruptcies.
Gross receipts for the past 12 months, which provide a broad view of state economic activity, were off more than 7% compared to the same prior period, Miller said.
The report for August lists gross receipts at $832.2 million, down $34.3 million, or 4 percent, from August 2015.
Gross income tax collections, a combination of individual and corporate income taxes, generated $254.2 million, a reduction of $4 million, or 1.53%, from the previous August, according to the latest report.
Individual income tax collections for the month were $242.7 million, up by $12.3 million, or 5.3%, from the prior year. Corporate collections are $11.5 million, down by $16.3 million, or 58.5%.
Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $351.2 million in August. That is $21.5 million, or 5.8%, below August of last year.
Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $31.8 million during the month, a decrease of $9 million, or 5.8%, from last August. Compared to July reports, gross production collections are up by $1.3 million, or 4.2%.
Motor vehicle taxes produced $68.7 million, up by $3 million, or 4.5%, from the prior year.