As the economic downturn worsens, Oklahoma’s budget has begun to resemble a boxer up against the ropes. The news from the March revenue report released today by the Office of State Finance just dealt another blow. General Revenue (GR) collections for the month were down $93 million, or 19.1 percent, compared to the year prior. Every major tax came in below a year ago, with gross production taxes (down 40.7 percent from March 2008), motor vehicle taxes (down 25.4 percent), and personal income tax collections (down 22.3 percent) taking the worst hits.
As can be seen from the chart, this is the third consecutive month of steep revenue declines. For the year, FY ’09 revenues are a slim $33 million, or 0.8 percent above last year.
Compared to the certified estimate, March’s collections fell $81.8 million, or 17.2 percent, short. That is a slight improvement from February, when collections missed the mark by a whopping 30.3 percent. For the year, revenue collections have now dipped slightly below the certified estimate. Since the Legislature only appropriates at 95 percent of the estimate, it leaves a 5 percent cushion to avert or minimize budget shortfalls when the economy declines. Treasurer Meacham today declared that, “we expect collections for the next three months to also fall below original estimates, but they are not forecasted to fall enough to require cuts between now and the end of June.”
Continue Reading »