MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

August 15, 2013

Oklahoma July revenue climbs 5.3 percent over 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s finance secretary said Wednesday that collections by the state’s general revenue fund in July were up 5.3 percent over the same month last year, allowing for a $2.7 million deposit into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

July’s revenue report provides more evidence that Oklahoma’s economy remains on solid ground, said Preston Doerflinger, secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology.

“We’re still adding to our healthy state savings account and we’re off to a good start in the first month of fiscal year 2014, thanks to continued growth in income tax receipts,” Doerflinger said.

Officials have cited low unemployment and rising personal spending as reasons for the state’s strengthening economy. Oklahoma recorded a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in June, up from 5.1 percent in May but still far below the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

The Rainy Day Fund deposit will increase the fund to about $535 million. When Gov. Mary Fallin took office in 2011, it was essentially empty — reduced to just $2 — because of budget problems tied to the national economic downturn. The fund had been built back up to $577.5 million before it was tapped for $45 million in May for emergency tornado relief.

General revenue fund collections for July totaled almost $410 million, an increase of $20.7 million from a year ago and $14.3 million above the estimate for the month.

Combined corporate and individual income taxes were up 3.1 percent over last year and were 18.2 percent higher than the estimate. Sales taxes beat figures from a year ago by 2.7 percent, while missing the estimate by 2.4 percent. Motor vehicle sales were up for the first time since January, while gross production taxes again fell below the estimate, this time by 21.3 percent.

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