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Oklahoma tax revenues hit 12-month high

Increased oilfield activity has helped Oklahoma tax collections hit a 12-month record, officials report. [The Oklahoman archives]
Increased oilfield activity has helped Oklahoma tax collections hit a 12-month record, officials report. [The Oklahoman archives]

Bolstered by an improving economy and increased oilfield activity, the Oklahoma state treasury has taken in a record $12.8 billion in gross tax receipts over the last 12 months, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced Wednesday.

Those collections are $1.5 billion, or 13.1 percent, more than collections from the previous 12 months, he reported.

The previous record for a rolling 12-month period was $12.7 billion set at the end of October.

“The economy continues to propel treasury collections,” Miller said. “With 20 consecutive months of growth in monthly gross receipts and unemployment at its lowest in 17 years, Oklahoma is on track to finish 2018 on a high note.”

Just because the state has taken in $1.5 billion more in revenue over the last 12 months, doesn't mean the state Legislature will have that much extra money to appropriate to state agencies.

The General Revenue Fund is the major source of funding for most appropriations, and it receives less than half of the state's gross tax receipts. The rest is paid out in rebates and refunds, remitted to cities and counties and placed into off-the-top earmarks to other state funds.

Still, the state revenue picture is improving.

The state took in $1 billion in November, alone, buoyed by increased revenue from the gross production tax on oil and natural gas that surged more than 125 percent over the previous November.

The state collected $118.8 million from gross production taxes on oil and natural gas last month, an increase of $66.1 million from the amount collected during the previous November. Compared to October reports, gross production collections were up by $16.7 million, or 16.4 percent.

Miller cautioned that November gross production tax collections reflect oilfield activity from two months earlier, in September, when the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil averaged $70.23 per barrel. November's lower crude oil prices of about $55 per barrel will not be reflected in state tax collections until January.

Other categories of tax collections also were up in November.

Sales tax collections increased 6.7 percent over the previous November, while motor vehicle tax collection were up more than 11 percent and income tax collections were up 0.3 percent.

Overall, November's $1 billion in tax collections were up $140.1 million, or 15.7 percent, from the previous November.

Tax hikes approved by the Oklahoma Legislature earlier this year added $61.6 million, or 6 percent, to November's tax collections, the treasurer's office said.

The largest portion, $37.8 million, came from the increase from 2 percent to 5 percent in the tax rate on oil and natural gas gross production, the treasurer reported.

Higher tax rates on gasoline and diesel fuel generated $10.1 million, and the $1 per pack hike in cigarette taxes added $13.6 million to November's total.

Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›