The Norman Transcript

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March 5, 2013

Treasurer: Collections dipped in February

NORMAN — Oklahoma revenue collections dipped slightly in February, the fifth such occurrence in the past year, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Monday as he released the state’s monthly gross receipts to the treasury report.

“As with last March, June, August and November, collections in February are lower than the same month of the prior year,” Miller said. “This follows 24 consecutive months of collections beating the prior year.”

Miller said economic growth continues, but at a more subdued pace.

“Our average growth rate between March 2011 and February 2012 topped 10 percent,” he said. “For the past 12 months, growth has averaged 2 percent.”

February gross collections were down by 2.4 percent, or almost $20 million, from February of last year. Oklahoma’s two biggest sources of revenue, income tax and sales tax, both grew — income by 1.4 percent and sales by 3.9 percent.

Gross production, motor vehicle taxes and other sources were all reported as lower than the prior year.

Monthly collections were marginally affected by the inclusion of a leap day last February.

Looking forward, Miller said the impact of a prolonged standoff in Washington over the federal budget and spending could eventually impact Oklahoma.

“The spillover effects of sequestration on household consumption and business investment are a concern and could hamper future growth,” he said. “The sequester cuts, which are disproportionately weighted toward the military, could weaken both national security and our state’s economy. Federal spending must be greatly reduced, but should be done strategically and include entitlement reform — the real spending problem in Washington.”

Positive business conditions: The latest Business Conditions Index for Oklahoma report anticipates continued economic growth, though slightly slower than in January’s report. The February survey shows Oklahoma with a rating of 52.5, compared to January’s 53.8. Numbers above 50 indicate anticipated growth.

According to the survey, Oklahoma’s economy is outperforming other states in the region as unemployment has dropped by two percentage points since the recovery started and the state labor force has expanded by almost 40,000 jobs.

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