Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - OKC continues to see sales tax revenue grow

OKC continues to see sales tax revenue grow

Friday, January 4, 2013

by Zeke Campfield

The Oklahoman

The latest monthly sales tax report for Oklahoma City shows a 9.9 percent increase in collections over the same time period last year as job growth continues to boost the local economy.   

Sales tax collections for the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November totaled $33.1 million, marking the 15th straight month of sales tax growth for the city.   

Doug Dowler, budget director, attributed the growth to a positive economy, jobless rate and retail environment in the city.   

The sales tax is the largest revenue source for the city, and retail dollars comprise the majority of that tax, he said.   

“And really what people have available to spend is driven by two things — how many people are working and how much they’re making at those jobs,” Dowler said.   

The Oklahoma City metropolitan area had 4.8 percent unemployment this fall, according to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics in November.   

Statewide, the jobless rate was 5.2 percent, according to the report.   

Dowler said sales tax growth was positive in Edmond, Moore, Yukon and most other suburbs of Oklahoma City, as well as in Tulsa.   

Oklahoma City had 18,000 more people working in November 2012 than in the previous November, he said.   

“So the opening of one or two stores, while it’s good for Oklahoma City, doesn’t make a significant impact on our sales tax because we’re so big,” he said. “It’s really those macro changes in the overall economy that have the biggest impact.”   

Total sales tax rate in Oklahoma City is 8.375 percent, and the city’s portion is 3.875 cents. Of the city’s portion, 2 cents is allocated to the general fund, 1 cent goes to MAPS 3, three-quarters of a cent is dedicated to public safety and an eighth of a penny goes to the zoo.  

Shoppers in portions of Oklahoma City in Cleveland and Canadian counties pay a slightly higher rate due to taxes collected for the jails in those counties.