Sales tax collections continue slide; receipts remain below yearly estimate
OKLAHOMA CITY — An unexpectedly high deposit from individual income tax collections pushed November’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) 7.3 percent above the monthly estimate, but with sales tax collections continuing to slide the total receipts for the fiscal year remained below the estimate.
“We’ve been saying for more than a few months now that the sales tax collections are some of the more troubling numbers,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger. “Sales tax collections are probably a better gauge of where things stand than the fluctuating income tax receipts.”
As state government’s main operating fund, the GRF is the key indicator of state government’s fiscal status and the predominant funding source for the annual appropriated state budget. GRF collections are revenues that remain for the appropriated state budget after rebates, refunds and mandatory apportionments. Gross collections, reported by the State Treasurer, are all revenues collected by the state before rebates, refunds and mandatory apportionments.
GRF collections in November totaled $342.5 million, which is $23.3 million, or 7.3 percent, above the official estimate upon which the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriated state budget was based and $11.6 million, or 3.3 percent, below prior year collections. Total GRF collections through the first five months of FY 2017 are $2 billion, which is $7.2 million, or 0.4 percent, below the estimate and $166 million, or 7.8 percent, below prior year collections.
Last month, GRF collections were 1.8 percent below the fiscal year estimate and 8.7 percent below the prior year collections. The improvement and November’s number were driven up by unexpectedly high individual income tax deposits of $111.7 million that were $45 million, or 67.6 percent, above the estimate, but only $1.3 million, or 1.1 percent, above the prior year.
The November personal income tax estimate was dialed down this year because last year’s November collections were 13 percent below the estimate and a previous history of larger quality jobs refunds and other rebates this time of year. Personal income tax gross collections were actually lower this year than compared to last, but in a reversal of a trend the amount of refunds and rebates were also lower.
“There are certain encouraging signs, but we’re still below last year’s collections and the yearly estimate,” Doerflinger said. “The sliding sales tax receipts are an indicator that we must still remain ready for some tough challenges ahead.”
Sales tax collections were $13.5 million, or 8.2 percent, below the estimate and $9.5 million, or 5.9 percent, below the prior year. Sales tax collections have remained below the estimate for 21 of the last 22 months. Sales tax makes up about 35 percent of the GRF’s annual collections and a large portion of city service budgets.
“The state will continue seeing sales tax declines with a depressed energy sector and consumer spending shifting from brick and mortar operations to online outlets and the services sector,” Doerflinger said.
Doerflinger is director of OMES, which issues the monthly GRF reports.
Major tax categories in November contributed the following amounts to the GRF:
Total income tax collections of $111.7 million were $44.6 million, or 66.4 percent, above the estimate and $1.3 million, or 1.1 percent, above the prior year.
Individual income tax collections of $111.7 million were $45 million, or 67.6 percent, above the estimate and $1.3 million, or 1.1 percent, above the prior year.
Corporate income tax collections were entirely consumed by refunds and contributed nothing to the General Revenue Fund. This was the case for the same month last year, as well.
Sales tax collections of $151 million were $13.5 million, or 8.2 percent, below the estimate and $9.5 million, or 5.9 percent, below the prior year.
Gross production tax collections of $12.6 million were $2.9 million, or 18.5 percent, below the estimate and $3.8 million, or 42.5 percent, above the prior year.
Natural gas collections of $11.1 million were $4 million, or 26.8 percent, below the estimate and $2.5, or 28.8 percent, above the prior year.
Oil collections of $1.6 million were $1.2 million, or 299 percent, above the estimate and $1.3 million, or 451.3 percent, above the prior year.
Motor vehicle tax collections of $14.5 million were $798,000, or 5.8 percent, above the estimate and $140,000, or 1 percent, above the prior year.
Other revenue collections of $52.7 million were $5.7 million, or 9.7 percent, below the estimate and $7.3 million, or 12.1 percent, below the prior year.
Revenue tables can be viewed on the OMES website: https://www.ok.gov/OSF/News/November_2016_Financial_Report_Data_Tables.html.
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