The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 5, 2013

State’s tax revenue continues to rise

NORMAN — Although the national impact of the government shutdown continues to be examined, it appears Oklahomans shook off the spending pause with little concern.

The state’s gross revenue collections for October were up 7 percent over the same period a year earlier. Sales tax collections, the best measure of consumer spending and confidence, were up nearly 5 percent.

All major tax categories showed increases, but corporate income taxes were down about 10 percent. Gross production taxes on oil and gas brought in more than $73 million, an increase of nearly 16 percent from October 2012.

The revenue reports that come just months before the legislative session begins in February have a major impact on state budgeting. Although funds available for appropriations are not certified until spring, many agencies began preparing budgets based on anticipated state revenues.

Some state officials have made it known that agencies should prepare for a flat budget year. Corrections officials this week announced they need an additional $31.5 million to pay for the growing number of sentenced offenders who are backed up in county jails waiting for space in state prisons or the money to be put in private jails.

Nearly 1,700 inmates are being housed in county jails awaiting beds in state prisons or private prisons. Several hundred of those inmates are in Cleveland County’s detention center.

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