DALLAS – Oklahoma’s Treasury receipts for November soared more than 12% over the same month last year, the eighth consecutive month of growth, according to State Treasurer Ken Miller.
At $893.4 million, November collections were up by 12.4%, or $98.6 million, compared to receipts from November 2016. The last time monthly gross receipts grew by more than 12% was in February 2012.
“Gross Receipts to the Treasury, insomuch as they indicate general economic activity, paint an encouraging picture as we enter the holiday period,” Miller said. “Sales tax collections, a measure of consumer confidence, are up by double-digits and the bulk of holiday shopping including Black Friday is not yet measured with this report.”
The positive report comes as Oklahoma lawmakers await Gov. Mary Fallin’s call for a second special session to increase revenue to cover a shortfall brought about by a Supreme Court ruling that threw out a cigarette fee passed in the regular session. The court ruled that passage of the revenue measure in the final week of the regular session by less than a 75% supermajority violated the state constitution.
In the first special session that ended Nov. 17, Fallin’s proposed tax increases fell five votes short of the 75% supermajority needed in the House. The bill that garnered bipartisan support would have closed a $215 million shortfall in the current budget.
Failure to pass the measure was declared a negative credit event by Moody’s Investors Service, which already had a negative outlook on the state’s Aa2 general obligation rating.
Miller reported that state sales tax receipts grew by 11.4% for November. The three other major revenue streams – gross income, gross production, and motor vehicle taxes – also increased during the month compared to November of last year.
Gross Receipts to the Treasury for the past 12 months are up by 4.7% compared to the prior 12 months with all major revenue sources showing growth, Miller said.
The tax commission attributes $24.4 million in November to new revenue resulting from legislation enacted during the last regular session. The largest amount, $10.4 million, is from a 1.25% state sales tax on motor vehicle purchases. A $5 fee on motor vehicle registration increased collections by $1.8 million for the month.
The amount of new revenue generated in November by boosting the 1% horizontal drilling gross production tax rate to 4% is reported as $7.8 million by the tax commission. Elimination and suspension of gross production rebate payments added approximately $3 million to gross collections during the month.
Ending a discount for businesses that remit sales tax added $1.3 million during November, and a new fee assessed on professional sports tickets contributed $28,613.
Since August, law changes from last session have yielded $90.6 million in new gross revenue.
At 4.4%, Oklahoma’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in October was down by one-tenth of a percentage point from the prior month, according to figures released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. State jobless numbers improved by one-half of a percentage point over the year. The U.S. jobless rate was set at 4.1% for the month.
The state unemployment rate has been higher than that of the U.S. for 12 of the past 18 months.