Oklahoma shoppers apparently didn’t let the nation’s economic woes cut into their Christmas shopping as the state’s sales tax collections helped top monthly receipts over the prior year, records show.
While the national economy is experiencing the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression, preliminary reports show general revenue fund collections for December totaled $567.4 million, which 7.1 percent more than the same month a year ago.
“We should count our blessings,” state Treasurer Scott Meacham said. “We are building a comfortable cushion as we head into the new year, while most of the rest of the nation is being forced to make drastic cutbacks in essential governmental services as their economies suffer the effects of the global recession.”
Meacham said the strong collection numbers reflect the important role the oil and natural gas industries play in Oklahoma’s economy.
Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas are about 75 percent higher than December of last year and are close to double what was estimated to be collected, he said. “Without the exceptionally high gross production tax collections, overall collections for the state would be below the estimate for the fiscal year.”
Meacham said sales tax collections for the month – reflecting Christmas sales through mid-December – show an increase from the previous year.
“I am very much surprised,” he said. “If you look at how Oklahoma’s holiday season was compared with the rest of the nation … we hit the ball out of the park. I’m just proud of Oklahoma consumers for not pulling their horns in and staying home.”
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau