State treasurer Scott Meacham knows it’s a slow process recovering from the Great Recession. But each month that repeats the trend of increasing revenue over the prior year is a good one, Mr. Meacham reports.
As lawmakers near the end of the session and try to deal with a projected $1.2 billion budget hole, they got some good news last week. Three of the four major revenue categories showed increases.
The April General Revenue Fund collections were $512.3 million were less a half percentage point below the prior year and five percent below the official estimate. For some months this year, collections were at times 30 percent below prior year amounts.
“It appears the state turned a corner in February and, in spite of slightly lower income tax numbers in April, we believe that trend continues. We were particularly pleased to see improvement in sales tax collections over the prior year for the first time since April of last year.”
Collections for the first 10 months of the fiscal year were nearly 21 percent below the prior year and 17.8 percent below the official estimate. State agencies have received lower allocations for the last few months. The state plans to use some of April’s cash to replenish cash funds used earlier this year.
May collections are expected to be sufficient to repay the remaining balance.
“It’s not quite time to sing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again,’ but we are seeing signs of recovery in Oklahoma’s economy,” Meacham said.