DALLAS — Oklahoma general fund collections resumed their upward trend in July after faltering in June, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Thursday in reporting $854.9 million of revenue for the first month of fiscal 2013.
Total collections in July were 1% higher or almost $10 million more, than in July 2011. Collections in June totaled $994.9 million, down $6.5 million from June 2011.
Increases in sales tax and income tax collections overcame the ongoing weakness in revenue from the state's production tax on oil and natural gas, Miller said.
Sales tax collections, including remittances that will distributed to cities and counties, totaled $354.4 million, an increase of $23.5 million from July 2011.
The corporate and personal income taxes generated $247.4 million in July, up 10% from last year.
Oklahoma's 4.7% unemployment rate is lower than the United States average of 8.3%, Miller noted, which is reflected in July's income tax collections.
"Oklahoma has many reasons to be optimistic about its economy," Miller said.
Overall growth in collections has slackened due to low prices for Oklahoma oil and gas, Miller said, but most economic indicators are positive.
"Our July report shows sustained consumer confidence in the economy with Oklahomans earning and spending more money," he said.
Revenue from the severance tax on oil and gas totaled $58.3 million in July, down more than 43% from June 2011 collections of $102.8 million.
July was the eighth month in a row that energy tax revenues have fallen below the previous year's collections, Miller said. The severance taxes make up about 10% of Oklahoma's $6.8 billion legislatively appropriated budget for fiscal 2013.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission based its revenue outlook for fiscal 2013 on the expectation that oil prices would average $96.62 per barrel, with natural gas prices predicted at $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The current spot price for natural gas on Aug. 1 was $3.30 per 1,000 cubic feet, while oil was selling on the world market at close to $90 per barrel.
If natural gas prices in March and April had fallen below $2.10 per 1,000 cubic feet, the state tax would have fallen to 4% from the current 7%, Miller said.
"At this point, the Tax Commission is looking pretty sage," Miller said. "We're a lot closer today to meeting that estimate than we were."
The most recent Baker Hughes drilling rig count found 37 active natural gas rigs in Oklahoma, down from 124 in June 2011, while 156 oil rigs are working, up from 53 last year.
Collections over the past 12 months total $11 billion, an increase of $737.7 million over the previous period, Miller said.
That total includes $4.1 billion from the sales tax, $3.9 billion from the income tax, and $852.2 million of severance tax collections.