Oklahoma's revenue picture improves


Wednesday, May 14th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Revenue collections in April were sufficient to avoid further cuts in state agency budgets for the current fiscal year, officials said Tuesday.

A revenue failure was declared in the Tobacco Settlement Fund, however, reducing appropriations to some agencies.

Total General Revenue Fund collections in April were down 3.5 percent from a year ago, but were better than revised estimates, said Scott Meacham, director of the Office of State Finance.

State agencies have had their allocations cut by 7.85 percent for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

``We will continue to monitor collections closely,'' Meacham said. ``If at year's end we find ourselves with revenue in excess of the level of reductions, that money will be distributed to the agencies.''

Income tax collections continued to be weak in April, with individual returns producing $267.2 million, a decline of 9.9 percent from a year ago. Sales tax receipts were up 1.9 percent from the prior year and the gross production tax on natural gas was up $38 million, or 248 percent. Motor vehicles taxes were down 9.5 percent from last year.

Meacham said the latest payment pushed receipts in the tobacco fund to $32.3 million, which is less than had been anticipated.

He said allocations from the fund will be reduced by an annualized rate of 2.47 percent.

The cuts affect money going to the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and the Health Care Authority.