Bad Weather Being Blamed for Low Tax Collections

Bad Weather Being Blamed for Low Tax Collections

Posted by Bob Sands on

OKLAHOMA CITY — General Revenue Fund (GRF) collections continued tumbling in December following a weak Black Friday cycle and deepening state revenue declines related to low oil prices.

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.

December GRF collections of $462.6 million were $70.1 million, or 13.2 percent, below the official estimate upon which the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriated state budget was based, and $85.1 million, or 15.5 percent, below prior year collections.

Total GRF collections for the first six months of FY 2016 were $2.6 billion, which is $172.1 million, or 6.2 percent, below the official estimate and $182.5 million, or 6.6 percent, below prior year collections.

Even with Black Friday occurring in December, sales tax collections to the GRF were 10.6 percent below the estimate and 6.8 percent below the prior year.

“On top of the ongoing oil price problem, December collections fell further when bad Black Friday weather sent a lot of shoppers online instead of to brick and mortar stores where sales taxes are paid. States like Oklahoma will struggle to collect sales tax from most online sales until Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger. “The outlook ahead remains challenging because the effects of the bottom of the barrel oil prices we’ve seen in recent months will be more readily manifested in January, February and March collections.”

Doerflinger is director of OMES, which issues the monthly GRF reports.

Major tax categories in December contributed the following amounts to the GRF:

  • Total income tax collections of $226.9 million were $11.4 million, or 4.8 percent, below the estimate and $25.7 million, or 10.2 percent, below the prior year. 

    Individual income tax collections of $226.9 million were $13.1 million, or 6.1 percent, above the estimate and $4.2 million, or 1.8 percent, below the prior year.

    Corporate income tax collections were entirely consumed by refunds and contributed nothing to the GRF.
  • Sales tax collections of $163.1 million were $19.4 million, or 10.6 percent, below the estimate and $11.9 million, or 6.8 percent, below the prior year.
  • Gross production tax collections of $9.2 million were $23.2 million, or 71.6 percent, below the estimate and $29 million, or 75.9 percent, below the prior year.

    Natural gas collections of $8.8 million were $8.5 million, or 49 percent, below the estimate and $2.3 million, or 20.7 percent, below the prior year.

    Oil collections of $357,210 were $14.7 million, or 97.6 percent, below the estimate and $26.7 million, or 98.7 percent, below the prior year.
  • Motor vehicle tax collections of $16.9 million were $4.4 million, or 20.9 percent, below the estimate and $3.8 million, or 18.2 percent, below the prior year.
  • Other revenue collections of $46.5 million were $11.7 million, or 20.1 percent, below the estimate and $14.7 million, or 24 percent, below the prior year.

Monthly revenue tables are available on the OMES website: https://www.ok.gov/OSF/News/December_2015_Financial_Report_Data_Tables.html

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