Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said today that the City of Tulsa's February sales tax revenue for mid-December 2013 to mid-January 2014, as reported by the Oklahoma Tax Commission is up 2 percent from last year and 2.9 percent below budget estimates.
Revenue was reported at $21,026,499, and year-to-date sales tax collections are up 0.7 percent for this fiscal year compared to last fiscal year, a news release said.
Holiday sales are reflected in the January and February checks the City received. In the general fund, sales tax collections for the two months were expected to grow by 2.8 percent from last year's $26 million level, but instead fell by 0.6 percent leaving a $ 900,000 shortfall against budget expectations.
"In spring of 2013, the economic indicators initially supported a 3 percent sales tax growth for fiscal year 14. However, the reality is the local economy has shown signs of softness," finance director Mike Kier. "Buyer habits are changing as consumers are using credit less and saving more and buying goods online from out-of-state retailers that do not collect state or city sales taxes. Tulsa is losing approximately $10 million in sales this year due to tax-free Internet sales."
Use tax revenues totaled $2,744,807, which is up 30 percent from the same period a year ago, and 24 percent above budget estimates for the month. Year-to-date use tax collections are up 13.2 percent for this fiscal year compared to last fiscal year, and 8.5 percent above the year-to-date budget estimate.
"With softening sales tax collections in the current economy, we must face the likelihood that the City of Tulsa's sales tax reimbursement will stay somewhat flat moving forward," Bartlett said. "We must remain prudent in our budgetary decisions and find long-term solutions to provide core services to the citizens of Tulsa."