TAX collections up; Rainy Day deposit: $257.7 million

Wednesday, July 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Rising tax collections will lead to an estimated deposit into the constitutional Rainy Day Fund of $257.7 million, finance officials said Tuesday.

Such a deposit would boost the fund to $336.4 million, of which half, or $168.2 million, can be used for legislative appropriations.

A special session of the Oklahoma Legislature is planned in September, ostensibly to work on tax reform, congressional redistricting and other issues. But some lawmakers have suggested expansion of the session's scope to solve various funding problems.

Alison Fraser, deputy director of the state Finance Office, said preliminary reports for the fiscal year ending June 30 show that $4.7 billion was collected, which is $257.7 million, or 5.8 percent more than came in during the previous fiscal year.

The total is $359.9 million, or 8.3 percent, more than the Board of Equalization estimated.

Three of the four major state taxes increased compared to the last fiscal year, led by gross production taxes on natural gas.

``While it's easy to note the impact of higher natural gas prices on state revenues, one must keep in mind that income tax collections, particularly individual income tax receipts, and sales tax collections exceeded prior year collections and the estimate by significant amounts,'' Fraser said. ``These are signs of economic growth and strength.''

She said motor vehicle tax collections were down because of lower sales but now appear to be rebounding at both the state and national levels.

The report showed that individual income taxes increased by $193.2 million, or 10.8 percent above the prior year, while corporate income tax collections were down $5 million, or 16.9 percent.

The gross production tax on natural gas was up $241.3 million, or 98.5 percent above the prior year.

Sales taxes were up $77.5 million, or 6.7 percent, while motor vehicle taxes were down $59.9 million, or 19.7 percent.