Oklahoma's rainy day fund to get $300 million increase
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
7/11/12 at 3:23 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma will deposit the largest amount ever in its "rainy day" fund within the next few days, the Office of State Finance announced Tuesday.
The state is expected to deposit $306.8 million into the fund, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said.
Less than two years ago, the fund had only $2.02 in it, but last year, the state was able to deposit $249 million into its savings account.
Tuesday's news brings the total to $556 million.
Shelly Paulk, Office of State Finance deputy director of budget and a revenue analyst, said that while the amount of the deposit is a record, the amount that will now be in the fund is not a record.
Before the recession, the fund contained $596.6 million, which was the record.
According to the state constitution, a deposit is made to the rainy-day fund when the state's revenue collections for a fiscal year exceed 100 percent of the official estimate for that year. The fund is capped at 15 percent of the official estimate of the general revenue fund for the prior fiscal year.
"If state tax revenues in a given fiscal year come in at a level that is less than the total appropriated by the Legislature, the Constitution provides that 3/8 of the Rainy Day Fund can be used to make up that shortfall for that year," according to the state's official website.
Additional amounts can be spent "if the official estimate says the next fiscal year will bring in less revenue than the current year" and if the governor and 75 percent of the Legislature declare an emergency, according to the state website.
For fiscal year 2012, general revenue fund collections were slightly more than $5.5 billion - 7.9 percent above fiscal year 2011 collections.
Total sales tax collections to the general revenue fund for the full fiscal year exceeded the prior year by 9.7 percent.
In June alone, individual and corporate income taxes brought $271.2 million to the general revenue fund, 2.8 percent more than the prior year.
Sales tax collections for June produced $165.4 million, 13.1 percent more than the prior year.
"This preliminary report drives home the role consumer confidence has played in Oklahoma's economic recovery in the fiscal year ending June 30," Doerflinger said. "For the year, the sales tax collections rose by 9.7 percent over the prior year. In June and at other times during the year, strong sales taxes helped ease energy tax variances due to low prices and tax rebates."
Not all the state's economic news was good, though.
In June, total general revenue fund collections brought in $560.8 million, down 7.4 percent from a year ago due to a reduction in revenue from gross production taxes.
Gross production tax revenues in June came entirely from the tax on oil. The total oil gross production taxes brought $32.9 million to the fund, 29.4 percent below the prior year.
June gross production tax collections from natural gas totaled $15.3 million, but after refunds, the source contributed nothing to the general revenue fund.
March was the last time the monthly general revenue fund collections were down from the prior year, according to the Office of State Finance.
Original Print Headline: Rainy day fund to get big bump
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465