OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma finance officials on Tuesday projected that the state’s Rainy Day Fund will soon return to levels not seen since the full effect of the Great Recession hit the state.
Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger reported that total collections to the state’s general revenue fund through May exceeded last year’s collections by nearly 10 percent. The numbers show how much money the state is bringing in through taxes and are a reflection of the overall health of Oklahoma’s economy.
“We now have 11 months of revenue in the bank, with almost 10 percent growth, while exceeding the official estimate for that period by nearly $347 million,” Doerflinger said. “We are on the cusp of returning to pre-recession levels in our Rainy Day Fund.”
If June collections continue to outpace the official estimate, Doerflinger projects a deposit of about $347 million will be made into the state’s Rainy Day Fund after the fiscal year ends June 30. It already has a balance of about $250 million. So a deposit that large would bring the balance of the Rainy Day Fund near its record of $596 million set at the beginning of the 2009 fiscal year.
Doerflinger said he was particularly pleased that sales tax collections in May increased by nearly 7 percent over May 2011, while motor vehicle tax receipts increased by more than 10 percent over the same period.
“Our recovery has been a broad one, fueled by oilfield activity and growth in manufacturing and other areas, leading to an unemployment rate almost three percentage points lower than the national jobless rate,” Doerflinger added. “Unlike many areas of the country, Oklahomans are making more money and plugging it back into the economy.”
Overall, collections to the state’s general revenue fund totaled nearly $5 billion through May. That amount is $450 million, or nearly 10 percent, more than the first 11 months of fiscal year 2011 and about 7.5 percent above the official estimate.