Shale-rich Oklahoma sees economic gains

State tax receipts up 10 percent from last year, the largest year-on-year gain in more than four years.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 6, 2017 at 6:48 AM
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Nov. 6 (UPI) -- October tax receipts for shale-rich Oklahoma are up more than 10 percent from last year, though most of the recent gains came from vehicle taxes, data show.

The Oklahoma State Treasury said October receipts of $980.2 million were up 10.6 percent from last year, marking the first time in more than four years that monthly receipts grew by more than 10 percent.

"Such strong revenue growth is encouraging, with all four major revenue sources in positive territory," State Treasurer Ken Miller said in a statement.

Tax receipts come as the state works to close a budget gap. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin called lawmakers to a special session in late September to address budget strains she said were critical. By her estimate, the state could face a $500 million shortfall next year because one-time funds were used to balance the books for the current fiscal year.

Miller's office said almost $18 million in gross receipts last month came from new legislation. About 65 percent of the new revenue came from a 1.25 percent state sales tax on motor vehicles, while a $5 vehicle registration added $1.9 million.

"The amount of new revenue gained during the month by boosting the 1 percent horizontal drilling gross production tax rate to 4 percent is not yet available from the tax commission," Miller's office reported.

Horizontal drilling is related to the energy sector. Taxes on oil and gas production generated $52 million in October, a jump of 48.4 percent from last year. Compared with September, however, tax collections from oil and gas grew just 3.7 percent.

Oklahoma is home to about 4 percent of the total petroleum reserves in the country and accounts for as much as 5 percent of the total crude oil production.

The state sits on the Anadarko shale reservoir. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts oil production there will increase about 2 percent and gas production by about 0.6 percent from October. Drilling services company Baker Hughes last week reported exploration and production activity is slowing down.

State data were released Friday.

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