OSF says general revenue growth again in double digits, consumer confidence strong

Oklahoma consumers continue to show their confidence that Oklahoma’s economic recovery will be long lasting, Office of State Finance Director Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday (March 13) as he released a report again showing double-digit growth in the General Revenue Fund.

“We had almost a 15 percent jump in total General Revenue Fund collections in February, compared with the same month a year ago, and consumer spending was one of the biggest factors for the increase,” Doerflinger said.

“It’s evident that Oklahomans feel good about the future and believe the policies of the administration of Gov. Mary Fallin are making a difference,” added Doerflinger, secretary of finance.  

“I believe this is reflected by the surge in sales tax collections this year.  Our citizens have more money to spend and evidently think this is a good time to make big ticket purchases,” he said.  “This is borne out by a sharp increase in motor vehicle sales.”

Doerflinger pointed out that last month’s report showed more state sales tax collections were recorded in January than in any month in state history — $165 million. 

“We followed that up in February with another strong showing in the sales tax category.  That revenue source produced $145 million for the General Revenue Fund, beating the amount collected for the same month a year ago by more than 14 percent.

“Meanwhile, general revenue from the sale of cars, trucks and other motor vehicles soared by 134 percent.  February is not normally such a strong month for motor vehicle collections. Consumers likely took advantage of unseasonably warm weather to express their confidence in the Oklahoma economy through vehicle upgrades.”

Total collections to the General Revenue Fund through the first eight months of FY-2012 were $3,506.5 million. This amount was $404.5 million and 13 percent above collections for the first eight months of FY-2011 and $347.1 million, or 11 percent above the total estimate for the same period of FY-2012.

In February, total collections for the General Revenue Fund were $283.4 million, an increase of $36.4 million and 14.7 percent from a year ago.  The amount collected in February was $43.1 million and 17.9 percent more than projected.

It was the 22nd consecutive month that GRF collections have exceeded the same month for the prior year, and the 10th straight month receipts were higher than projected.

“It was also the 10th time in 15 months that we have recorded double-digit growth in our General Revenue Fund.  That is impressive,” Doerflinger said.  “Our recovery from the Great Recession has been broad-based and should continue in the months ahead, barring some kind of calamity on the national scene.”

The General Revenue Fund is the main source of funding for state government operations.

The March GRF report showed natural gas collections down again because of low prices, but the drop in receipts from that source was more than made up by increased oil revenue.

“Activity in the oil patch appears to still be contributing significantly to our economy.” Doerflinger said.  “We’re hoping for a rebound in future months in natural gas prices, which would be a bonus.”

Major tax categories in February contributed the following amounts to the General Revenue Fund:

Income taxes – The total collected from individual and corporate income taxes in the month of February was $33.3 million for the FY-2012 General Revenue Fund, which was $5.6 million or 20 percent more than prior year collections and $32.5 million above the estimate. 

Individual income tax receipts of $32 million were $5.2 million and 19.3 percent above the prior year and $36 million above the estimate.

Corporate tax collections contributed $1.3 million to the General Revenue Fund for the month, which was $0.4 million or 41.2 percent above February 2011 collections and $3.5 million or 73.4 percent below the estimate.  

Sales tax — Sales tax collections in February produced $144.7 million for General Revenue Fund, which was $18.1 million or 14.3 percent more than the prior year and $11 million or 8.2 percent above the estimate. 
Gross production tax – Total gross production tax collections from natural gas and oil for the month were $53.7 million.  This total was $1.3 million and 2.4 percent above collections for February of the prior year and $6.6 million and 14 percent above the estimate.  Total gross production collections for the first eight months of fiscal year 2012 have exceeded the prior year by $93.2 million or 35.9 percent and have outpaced the estimate by $97.7 million or 38.3 percent.

February tax collections from natural gas accounted for $18.8 million in General Revenue Fund receipts, which was $2 million or 9.6 percent below the prior year and $8.2 million or 30.3 percent below the estimate. 

Gross production oil tax collections to the General Revenue Fund for February were $35 million.  This amount is $3.3 million or 10.3 percent above prior year collections for the month and $14.8 million or 73.1 percent above the estimate.

Motor vehicle taxes — This tax source produced $17.9 million, which was $10.2 million or 134.1 percent above the prior year and $4.8 million or 37.1 percent above the estimate.

Other Revenue — Other revenue produced $33.8 million in February. This was $1.3 million or 3.8 percent above the prior year and $11.8 million or 25.9 percent below the estimate.