Muskogee experienced more than 3 percent growth in its sales tax revenue when compared to the first quarter a year ago although the three-month tally dipped slightly from fourth-quarter tallies.
September sales tax disbursements primarily represent local tax receipts from July business. Totals include taxes collected on actual sales reported by businesses required to file electronically from July 16 to July 31 and estimated sales for Aug. 1 through Aug. 15.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission disbursed $161.99 million in sales tax revenue to municipalities statewide — that was up $7.92 million, or 5.14 percent, from the nearly $145.07 million disbursed in September 2018. Counties that assess a sales tax shared disbursements totaling more than $29.29 million and use tax revenue totaling more than $4.42 million.
Muskogee County's share of sales tax disbursements in September totaled $443,999, up 0.21 percent from the $398,066 it received for the same month in 2018. The September disbursement of use tax revenue to Muskogee County totaled $42,992, up 3.19 percent from the $41,664 deposited a year ago.
Sales tax disbursed in September to the city of Muskogee totaled $2.13 million, up 9.72, or $207,335, from the $1.92 million received for the same period a year ago. Tax commission records show much of the gains appear to have come from new auto dealers, hardware and building material dealers, and clothing stores.
Muskogee Mayor Janey Cagle-Boydston said in her State of the City Address she believed brisk sales of medical marijuana dispensaries were contributing to the city's growth in sales tax revenue. Acknowledging the 50th anniversary of Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee, the mayor told those in attendance evidently "we do smoke marijuana in Muskogee."
City Manager Mike Miller said "that may be part of it," referring to revenue generated by medical marijuana sales at the dozen or so dispensaries permitted to do business within the municipal boundaries of Muskogee. But he pointed to other factors he believes may be more substantial.
"There are a lot of good things happening in town, with new stores opening at Shawnee Crossing," Miller said, referencing the renovated Curt's Shopping Center at the intersection of North York Street and Shawnee Bypass. "We see Three Rivers Plaza is back to being almost at full capacity, so we are seeing a robust retail economy."
During the first three months of fiscal year 2020, which began July 1, the city's share of sales tax revenue totaled $6.28 million. That represents a year-to-date increase of $201,663, or 3.21 percent, from the first-quarter total of $6.08million recorded for fiscal year 2019.
Muskogee's use tax receipts spiked 42.97 percent higher than those reported for the same period in 2018. The tax commission's most recent report shows September use tax disbursements to the city totaled $310,976, up $133,637 from the $177,339 deposited a year ago into city coffers.
Use tax revenue, which can swing wildly from month to month, is generated primarily by purchases of out-of-state goods for in-state use or consumption. City councilors have directed that up to $1.2 million of the city's annual collection of its 4 percent use tax be used to stimulate economic development.
Revenue from the 4 percent municipal sales tax — along with tobacco and franchise taxes — make up just more than half of the city's general fund.