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State revenue hits new high

The Journal Record

July 5, 2018

Best 12 months on record

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hardly a year after the state’s gross receipts to the treasury hit their lowest point on record, receipts have hit a record high.

Those receipts account for all revenue the state receives, including the billions that go into accounts other than the general revenue fund, which holds the money that lawmakers appropriate to agencies. State Treasurer Ken Miller’s office on Tuesday released its monthly report, which announced that the past 12 months’ receipts totaled $12.18 billion, an all-time high. Lawmakers passed several tax increases during the legislative session this spring, but those collections began this month and are not reflected in Miller’s report.

The previous record for 12-month receipts occurred in February 2015, when they totaled $12.1 billion. The record for lowest over 12 months took place in March 2017, at $10.76 billion. The treasurer’s office started releasing the gross receipts report in March 2011.

The data released with the report shows growth in all major revenue streams. Sales tax revenues increased over the prior year by $466.4 million, about 11 percent. Income taxes were up $334.8 million, about 8.5 percent.

However, gross production tax receipts’ rate of growth outpaced all other revenue streams considerably. They jumped 58.1 percent over the previous 12-month period, rising from $442.7 million to $699.9 million.

Lawmakers approved tax adjustments in 2017 that raised rates for many oil and gas wells across the state. However, deputy treasurer Tim Allen said the growth is likely more attributable to increases in oil prices and production

“We were seeing healthy increases in gross production (revenue) before those changes,” he said.

Jonathan Willner, an economist at Oklahoma City University, said the new record is not surprising. The economy has been growing slowly and steadily, as it tends to do barring extenuating circumstances.

“Typically, absent recession, absent a huge change in tax rates, just about every year is going to be a record,” he said.

He said with the price of oil significantly higher than it has been – West Texas Intermediate on Thursday was selling for about $73 per barrel – and other factors, the record is especially unsurprising. However, he said, given Oklahoma’s decision to lower several tax rates in the past decade, such as the personal income tax rate, it is surprising that state revenues have continued to grow at the pace they have.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on July 5 to add clarification.

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