OKLAHOMA CITY — Healthy increases in state income and sales tax receipts offset declines in revenue from oil and gas production to push total state revenue collections slightly higher last month, Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller said Thursday.
Overall collections rose by a little more than 1 percent in July, the first month of the 2013 fiscal year. Miller said average growth over the past year has been 7.2 percent, including an almost 11 percent increase in income tax collections and almost 9 percent growth in sales tax collections.
But collections from oil and natural gas production plunged 43 percent for the month, the eighth consecutive monthly decline in gross production tax collections from the same month of 2011.
“While the overall rate of growth in collections has slowed somewhat in the past few months due to lower energy prices and production, most other economic indicators remain positive,” Miller said. “Our July report shows sustained consumer confidence in the economy with Oklahomans earning and spending more money.”
Rising state income tax collections reflects the state’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate compared to the national rate of 8.2 percent, Miller said. With an unemployment rate of 5 percent, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area tops the list of the lowest jobless rates among 49 U.S. cities with a population of one million or more, he said.
“Our employment picture is very good,” Miller said. “Oklahoma has many reasons to be optimistic about its economy.”
But outside influences, including the European debt crisis, an economic slowdown in China and political uncertainty in Washington, could have an impact on the state’s economy, he said.
“We need Congress to act responsibly,” the state treasurer said.
Gross collections in July totaled almost $855 million, up about $9.5 million from July 2011. Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $247 million, up about 10 percent from a year ago.
Sales tax collections totaled $354 million, up about 7 percent from the previous July. But gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated just $58 million last month, a $44 million decline from July 2011. Motor vehicle taxes produced almost $58 million, up $3 million from the prior year.
Miller said concern over low natural gas prices have eased somewhat in recent weeks as natural gas spot prices have risen. Natural gas dropped 8 percent Thursday to close at $2.92 per thousand cubic feet.
Miller noted that crude oil prices have also fallen in recent months. The price of U.S. crude fell $1.78 Thursday to close at $87.13 per barrel.
Gross revenue since August 2011 totals almost $11 billion, almost $738 million more than the previous 12-month period.