Oklahoma state revenues jump by 9 percent in October
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
11/07/12 at 4:53 AM
The news for Oklahoma's economy is good and that in turn may translate into more money for the state Legislature to appropriate next year to desperately needed areas such as education.
The state's gross revenue collections for October rose by 9 percent compared to 2011, the highest percentage increase in eight months.
What prompted this positive report? State Treasurer Ken Miller credits the uptick primarily to growth in personal income tax collections, up by more than 20 percent, and better gross production numbers, which earlier this year had fallen as much as 54 percent below previous year collections.
"Last month, we thought we had turned a corner with the extraction taxes and it now appears we have," Miller said. Gross revenue from November 2011 through October 2012 brought in $11.08 billion, up 5.6 percent from collections from the previous 12-month period.
Oklahoma has suffered during a prolonged economic recession that began in 2008, but the state has been spared some of the devastating blows dealt other areas. Unemployment remained relatively low, which is good except for those people who are still looking for work or who have given up searching. Housing prices and mortgage foreclosures were not nearly as bad as in other areas. The energy industry, which struggled with falling natural gas prices, appears to have stabilized, at least for the time being, and with winter coming on, demand for that fuel should be higher unless we have a balmy winter.
The state still has high demand for food stamps, which shows that families - including the working poor - continue to struggle.
But a 9 percent rise in gross revenues nevertheless is a positive sign for the state in general. The new Legislature, including those lawmakers elected Tuesday, should make a mental note. It's been a long time since state agencies, including public education, have been appropriately funded.
Original Print Headline: October surprise