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July 11, 2014

Norman sales tax slump not an indicator for FYE 2015

NORMAN — Norman sales tax collections were disappointingly low this month, kicking off the new fiscal year below budget.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission deposited $5,439,309 in sales tax receipts for Norman on July 9. The Public Safety Sales Tax portion of that collection was $777,043 — leaving the remaining total 3.79 percent above last year’s collections but well below the 4.25 percent growth Norman budgeted for the fiscal year ending 2015.

While this deposit represents collections primarily from mid-May through mid-June, the July 9 deposit is the first sales tax revenue for the new fiscal year, which started July 1.

Budgeting is always part science, part art. Budget predictions are based on a combination of historical analysis and current trends.

Sales tax is a volatile funding source and can be a headache for Oklahoma municipalities that are forced by state law to rely primarily on sales tax as a revenue source.

While Norman city leaders would have preferred to kick off the new fiscal year on a stronger note, last July was also a weak showing, with only 3.27 percent growth over 2013 receipts.

Despite the slow start, the fiscal year ending June 30 finished with sales tax receipts running 5.72 percent above Fiscal Year End 2013 and well ahead of budget predictions.

“We’re certainly pleased that we continue to show positive gains in our sales tax collections,” City Manager Steve Lewis said. “This month’s collections reflect an increase that is about half a percent higher than the increase from the same time last year. Considering that this month’s returns come on the heels of two strong months of collections, we remain optimistic about Norman’s economy.”

Other indicators are trending upward. Norman’s total use tax deposit for July was up at $235,010, compared to $214,679 last year. Use tax represents mostly construction.

Moore received $2,577,923 this month — up 23.2 percent from last year’s receipts of $2,091,362. However, July 2013 was very low because of the tornado.

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