DALLAS — Improved revenue collections indicate Oklahoma’s years of budget shortfalls are history, Treasurer Ken Miller said Thursday in announcing the 20th consecutive month of revenue increases.
October revenues came in 7.4% higher than October 2010 totals, according to Miller, and collections for the past 12 months are almost 9% higher than the previous period.
“I expect the biggest difficulties with the budget gaps are behind us,” Miller said at a news conference. “Now, that of course is with the caveat that we are going to continue on the path that we are on without interruption in our recovery.”
Revenue in October totaled $838 million. The figure includes $269.7 million of personal and corporate income tax and $239.6 million of sales tax the state’s two major revenue streams.
Miller said those increased collections are positive signs of recovery.
“Income tax collections, up by almost 12% this month, show Oklahomans are making more money,” he said. “Sales tax collections, up by almost 9%, show we are also gaining confidence.”
Revenues fell $1.9 billion from December 2008 through February 2010, but since then, collections are up $1.1 billion.
“We have regained almost 60% of the revenue that disappeared during the recession,” he said.
Miller said the latest business conditions index for Oklahoma forecasts economic growth over the next three to six months. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate was 5.9% in October when the national rate was 9.1%, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It appears Oklahoma’s economy is hitting its stride,” he said.
Unanticipated revenue declines caused the state to trim agency budgets by 5% a month as soon as fiscal 2010 began in July 2009 and by 10% in December 2009.
The $6.7 billion general fund budget for fiscal 2011 relied on almost $1 billion of one-time revenues, which include $592 million of federal stimulus funds, to cover a revenue shortfall estimated at $1.2 billion.
Legislators earlier this year resolved a projected $500 million revenue shortfall in fiscal 2012 with $200 million of one-time money as well as agency spending cuts.
The October revenue report said collections over the past 12 months totaled $10.5 billion, up $844.1 million from the 12-month period that ended in October 2010.
The 12-month revenues include $3.6 billion from income taxes, up $349.8 million from the previous period, and $3.8 billion from the sales tax, up $270 million.
Oil and gas severance tax collections totaled $1 billion over the period, an increase of $107 million.