The Norman Transcript

Opinion

July 11, 2013

State, U.S. economy remains a bit fragile

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s sales and income tax collections dipped slightly last month compared to June 2012. Overall, the state finished its fiscal year slightly above last year’s total but below what was projected.

The numbers are still indicative of a fragile economy that lacks job growth. Unemployment remains at 7.6 percent nationwide, with conditions slightly better in Oklahoma.

Overall, consumers remained in a spending mode throughout much of the year but backed off in June. Sales taxes statewide were down about 1 percent. Norman’s tax take was up more than 3 percent, but budgets were built on a 4 percent growth factor.

Nationwide, the chairman of the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy still needs help, and economic policies that hold down interest rates will remain in place. Long-term interest rates have been kept low by $85 billion a month in bond purchases.

State finance and revenue secretary Preston Doerflinger said the state’s total revenue of $5.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2013 were 0.2 percent above the collections in FY 2012. That’s $26.5 million below the estimate that policymakers used to build budgets for state agencies.

Analysts said the job growth that followed most recessionary periods may be missing this time around as companies became lean and productivity increased. Many of those jobs lost over the past four years aren’t coming back.

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