OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -State revenue collections for October fell short in three of four major categories for the first time since 2003, with declines in sales, income and natural gas taxes, a report showed Tuesday.
Preliminary data released by state Treasurer Scott Meacham shows collections for the General Revenue Fund were down $30.3 million or 6.4 percent in October from a year ago. October is the first month of the second quarter of the 2008 fiscal year.
Collections were $16.6 million or 3.6 percent below the estimate upon which the state government budget was built for the fiscal year that ends June 30 of next year.
“Although these figures represent only one month's collections, we certainly need to watch future collections closely,” said Meacham, Gov. Brad Henry's cabinet secretary for revenue and finance.
“Often times, there are month-to-month variances in collections due to timing and seasonality factors. We know that is part of the explanation for the decrease in sales tax collections this month,” Meacham said.
The treasurer said the last time revenue collections for a single month trailed both the prior year and the estimate was last February after a severe ice storm.
Meacham said the last time three major categories were below the estimate and the previous year's collections was in March 2003. That was Henry's first year in office, when a $700 million shortfall forced a series of budget cuts.
“I think we need to watch things closely the next couple of months, particularly sales collections in the holiday season to make sure we are not seeing a softening of the economy,” Meacham said.