The Norman Transcript

Opinion

April 5, 2014

Collections, job gains portend better economy

NORMAN — It’s just a blip on the state’s economic radar screen but one that might portend better times ahead. The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.2 percent in January to 5 percent in February.

At the same time, the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 percent. Both are reassuring numbers that the fragile economy withstood some harsh winter conditions that could have slowed growth.

State Treasurer Ken Miller this week said revenue collections in March grew by more than 4 percent over the same month a year earlier. Energy production, personal income taxes and sales taxes lead the growth spurt.

The Associated Press reports collections have exceeded the prior year 10 times in the past year. Oil and gas taxes are up for the 11th consecutive month.

For March, gross collections were $985 million, up $40 million from March 2013. Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $387 million, an increase of $20 million from last year.

The Associated Press reports sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $343.84 million in March. That is $16.26 million ahead of March 2013. Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $75.57 million in March, an increase of $8.69 million, or 13 percent, from the prior year.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, gross revenue totaled $11.57 billion, $469 million higher than collections for the previous 12-month period.

Gross income taxes generated $4.15 billion for the period, reflecting an increase of $140.02 million from the prior 12 months, according to the AP.

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