Record deposit set for Oklahoma Rainy Day Fund; monthly sales tax collections climb 13.1 percent

Sales tax revenue climbed by 13.1 percent in June over the previous year as Oklahoma closed out Fiscal Year 2012 collections to the General Revenue Fund with enough money to make a record $306.8 million deposit into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger announced Tuesday.
“This preliminary report drives home the role consumer confidence has played in Oklahoma’s economic recovery in the fiscal year ending June 30,” Doerflinger said. “For the year, sales tax collections rose by 9.7 percent over the prior year. In June and at other times during the year, strong sales taxes helped ease energy tax variances due to low prices and tax rebates.”
Tuesday’s report shows FY-2012 collections to the General Revenue Fund totaled $5.543 billion. This amount was $405.3 million and 7.9 percent above collections for FY-2011 and $306.8 million, or 5.9 percent above the estimate for FY-2012.
“It’s stunning to realize that the Rainy Day Fund contained only $2.02 (Two dollars and two cents) when Gov. Mary Fallin took office less than two years ago,” Doerflinger said. “With this deposit added to last year’s $249 million deposit, we now have $556 million in our savings account and have moved within striking distance of the all-time record of $596.6 million reached before the recession.”
Governor Mary Fallin said, “It’s great to end the 2012 fiscal year on a high note, as the entire year was a boon for the Oklahoma economy as collections exceeded the previous year by nearly 10 percent.  Since January 2011, we’ve had positive growth over the prior year in 16 out of 18 months, and we’ve had double-digit growth in 10 months.
“We’ve also had a net increase of 38,200 jobs in the past 12 months ranking our state second in the nation for job creation.  Our pro-business policies are succeeding in growing the economy and providing more opportunities for Oklahoma families.
“Looking ahead to next year, it’s important we continue our focus on policies such as workforce development and education reform, government modernization, as well as tax reform that will help us bring even more jobs and investment to the state.”
Doerflinger said he is hopeful that energy prices will improve during the new fiscal year, “understanding the impact of the oil patch on the Oklahoma economy.  But our recovery has been broad-based, as high-lighted by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s recent Economic Snapshot.
“That report, among other things, pointed to Oklahoma gaining more than 38,000 jobs since the first of the year, ranking second among the states. We lost a few hundred manufacturing jobs in May, but kept our No. 1 ranking in that area with a growth rate of 6.6 percent.
“I also found it interesting that our unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in May at the same time the number of Oklahomans seeking jobs increased. Other states with low jobless rates have seen their workforce numbers shrink.”
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is the fifth lowest in the country and compares to the national rate of 8.2 percent.
In June, total collections for the General Revenue Fund were $560.8 million, down $44.9 million and 7.4 percent from a year ago.  The amount collected for the month was $39.9 million and 6.6 percent less than projected. 
Major tax categories in June contributed the following amounts to the General Revenue Fund:
Income taxes – The total collected from individual and corporate income taxes in the month of June was $271.2 million for the FY-2012 General Revenue Fund, which was $7.3 million or 2.8 percent more than prior year collections and $1.1 million or 0.4 percent above the estimate. Combined income tax collections for FY-2012 have remained strong, exceeding the prior year by 13.3 percent and the estimate by 17.5 percent.
Individual income tax receipts of $192.5 million were $16.2 million and 7.8 percent below the prior year and $38.7 million or 16.8 percent below the estimate.
Corporate tax collections contributed $78.7 million to the General Revenue Fund for the month, which was $23.4 million or 42.4 percent above June 2011 collections and $39.8 million or 102.4 percent above the estimate.
Sales tax – Sales tax collections in June produced $165.4 million for General Revenue Fund, which was $19.2 million or 13.1 percent more than the prior year and $12.6 million or 8.3 percent above the estimate.  Total collections for this source over the full fiscal year have exceeded the prior year by 9.7 percent and the estimate by 4.7 percent. 

Gross production tax – Gross production tax collections to the General Revenue Fund in June consisted entirely of collections from the tax on gross production of oil. The total oil taxes contributed $32.9 million to the General Revenue Fund which was $13.7 million and 29.4 percent below the prior year and $15.5 million or 32 percent below the estimate. 
June tax collections from natural gas totaled $15.3 million, but, after refunds of $12.4 million, contributed nothing to the General Revenue Fund.
“In the discussion of economic recovery,” Doerflinger added, “it is important to note that, although overall gross production collections to the General Revenue Fund fell for FY-2012 by $58 million from the prior year and $88 million below the estimate, the actual amount of revenue generated from oil activity would have more than offset the losses if $92.6 million had not been diverted during the fiscal year for urgent state agency needs.”
Motor vehicle taxes – This tax source produced $21.5 million from June collections, which was $1.8 million or 7.6 percent below the prior year and $3.9 million or 15.3 percent below the estimate. Total motor vehicle tax collections for the fiscal year have exceeded the prior year by 11.6 percent and the estimate by 0.2 percent.
Other Revenue – Other revenue produced $69.8 million in June. This amount was $20.6 million or 22.8 percent below the prior year and $7.4 million or 9.6 percent below the estimate.