Oklahoma draws in more oil, gas taxes

The state is facing a looming budget crisis, though most signs point to future economic growth.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Dec. 7, 2017 at 7:56 AM
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Dec. 7 (UPI) -- While still in the midst of a long struggle over budget measures, the Oklahoma Treasury Department said gross tax receipts so far are indicative of growth.

State Treasurer Ken Miller said gross tax receipts paid to his agency in November were up 12 percent, or $98.6 million, from the same time last year at $893.4 million.

"Gross receipts to the treasury, insomuch as they indicate general economic activity, paint an encouraging picture as we enter the holiday period," he said in a statement.

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. Taxes on oil and gas production generated $52.7 million for the state in November, up 54.8 percent from last year and 1.3 percent higher than the previous month.

Miller's office said new revenue generated last month from a 1 percent tax increase on production from horizontal drilling into the state's shale basins to 4 percent totaled $7.8 million.

Overall, the state reported general improvements in the business climate. The Oklahoma Business Conditions Index, however, moved down three notches in November to 60, though anything above 50 is indicative of future economic growth.

Gov. Mary Fallin last month vetoed all-but five of the 170 sections of House Bill 1019X, legislation aimed at fixing the state budget, because it came "perilously close" to wiping out the state's available one-time funds and savings. Emergency appropriation has kept most state agencies running.

Fallin has yet to call for another special legislative session to try to address the budget. A subpoena was issued, but later withdrawn, by the state House of Representatives for her chief of staff last week to address "serious financial issues" with some of the state's agencies.

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