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Opinion

December 6, 2012

Consumers drive a growing economy

NORMAN — Despite the dire warnings and non-stop talk-show hype, consumers seem to be marching to their own post-recession beats this holiday season.

Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller released figures this week that showed sales tax collections continue to climb. They were up 8.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

That number doesn’t include the “Black Friday” selling spree, since that would be reflected in December’s totals. Overall, tax revenues for the state dipped about one half of 1 percent compared to the same month last year.

Income tax collections and gross production taxes were down, but some of that could be related to the timing of filings.

Mr. Miller, in a news release, said there’s no reason to believe the state’s economy is cycling downward. Quite the opposite, he said. Tax receipts have grown nearly 5 percent over the past 2 months.

Total tax collections for November were $799.4 million, down $3.66 million from the same month in 2011. It’s too early to tell what impact the revenue will have on the state’s budget. Lawmakers will return to the capital in February, but revenue will be certified next month.

State Rep. Scott Martin, the new chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, seems to be leaning toward another austere year. In his announcement press release, he seemed to be practicing saying “no” to various constituencies seeking state money.

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