DALLAS — Oklahoma state revenues from oil and gas production taxes fell below year-earlier totals again in September, but Treasurer Ken Miller said Monday that the worst may be over.
Energy production tax revenues of $53 million were off almost 40% from collections in September 2011, Miller said at a news conference in Oklahoma City, but that is better than the 54% collapse in August.
“Oklahoma’s economy continues to climb up the expansion side of the business cycle in spite of low prices for natural gas,” Miller said.
General fund revenues totaled $988 million last month, he said, up $29.6 million from September 2011 collections.
“After two years of sharp growth in revenues, collections have leveled off over the past half year as we close in on our all-time high from December 2008,” Miller declared.
State revenues declined from year-earlier totals in three of the past seven months, including August.
Energy tax collections in September were up $6 million from August totals but $34.5 million less than September 2011 revenues.
Collections from the energy production taxes have fallen below year-earlier totals over the past 10 months. The taxes have generated $763.3 million over the past 12 months, down more than $281 million from the previous span.
The federal Energy Information Administration said Tuesday that the price for natural gas futures on Oct. 1 was $3.48 per 1,000 cubic feet, an increase of more than 64 cents in the past week but 19 cents less than a year ago. The average price was $4 in 2011, the EIA said, and $2.65 so far in 2012.
The state’s revenue outlook for fiscal 2013 is based on a 7% tax on an average wellhead price for natural gas of $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet. Miller said for every $1 decline in the price of natural gas, state revenues drop by $70 million.
September collections were up 3% due to strong gains from sales and income taxes, which Miller said overcame the continued weakness in the energy tax revenues.
“Sales tax collections, generally viewed as a measure of consumer confidence, are up 6% in September,” Miller said. “This is obviously a good sign, even though sales tax has been growing by double digits for much of the past year.
“That’s still strong growth,” he said. “The state’s economy continues to perform well. External threats remain at bay and have not yet harmed our economy.”
Sales tax collections, which include remittances to local governments, totaled $351.5 million last month.
Oklahoma’s personal and corporate income taxes brought in $402.9 million in September, up 15.6% from last year. The total includes $282.7 million of individual tax revenue and $120.2 million from the corporate income tax.
Collections from the individual income tax were up $10.5 million from September 2011, with corporate collections posting a $43.8 million increase.
General fund revenue collections since October 2011 total $11 billion, Miller said, up $567 million from the previous 12 months.
The 12-month total includes $4.1 billion from the sales tax, $3.3 billion from the personal income tax, and $701 million of motor vehicle tax receipts.