- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma’s overall tax receipts rose slightly in May compared with a year ago buoyed by revenue from oil and gas production, which helped to compensate for a 10 percent fall in monthly revenue from income taxes, state Treasurer Ken Miller said Tuesday.

“Things continue to look good, economically speaking,” Miller said as he released his office’s revenue report for the month of May. “Steady growth, especially in the oil field, is the order of the day.”

Miller said overall collections for the month were almost 2 percent ahead of the same month last year. Receipts for the past 12 months are more than 3 percent higher than the previous 12 months.

“Since hitting a gross receipts trough in February 2010, the cumulative 12-month total is now almost 25 percent larger at $11.63 billion,” Miller said. Although growth has slowed somewhat since the state began to emerge from the 2008 recession, “we do see a picture of measured expansion ongoing for more than four years now.”

Overall revenue collections in May, totaling almost $901 million or about $17 million more than in May 2013, showed a decrease in personal income tax collections, down by almost 10 percent from the prior year. Miller said the drop is due to differences in estimated and final income tax payments, which can vary from month to month.

John Estus, spokesman for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said such drops are not unusual during the tax-filing season.

Corporate income tax collections, which can vary widely from month to month, were up in May for the fifth time in the past 12 months, rising $567,000 more than May 2013 collections.

Sales tax collections, often viewed as an indicator of consumer confidence, are up by almost $25 million, or more than 7 percent, in May. And gross production tax collections on oil and natural gas production in May jumped by almost 28 percent from prior year receipts, generating more than $80 million.

Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association, said in a statement that the revenue report “shows how Oklahoma’s energy sector is driving revenue growth for the state.”

Warmington praised the Legislature’s passage of a measure that updates Oklahoma’s gross production tax code and establishes permanent tax rates, saying it “gives producers the certainty they need to keep investing capital in Oklahoma.”

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the measure, House Bill 2562, into law on May 28. It taxes all of Oklahoma’s oil wells at a standard 2 percent rate for the first three years of production. Afterwards, the tax would return to the standard tax rate of 7 percent. The new rates are set to go into effect for wells drilled after July 1, 2015.

“The implementation of sound tax policies like those contained in HB 2562 will keep our economy on track for continued steady growth,” Warmington said.

Miller said the state’s strong economy is reflected in its low unemployment rate. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in April, compared with a national jobless rate of 6.3 percent. April unemployment in Oklahoma City was set at 3.8 percent, down from 4.8 percent in March.

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