OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - As the national recession deepens, Oklahoma's tax collections continue to climb, helped by a tax amnesty program and a surprising surge in sales tax receipts.
A report issued Tuesday by state Treasurer Scott Meacham showed November revenues topped last year's collections by $52 million.
Of that amount, $19.5 million came from tardy taxpayers who took advantage of the amnesty program to catch up on back taxes.
"The receipt of this additional revenue in November was very timely," Meacham said. If not for that bonus, he said, the total revenue collected would have been behind the official estimate used to build the current budget that funds state agencies and programs.
The treasurer said extra money coming in the next few months because of the tax amnesty program will provide a cushion for the state if revenues fall because of the recession.
Overall, the program that ended Nov. 14 will bring in about $82 million to the state treasury, about $50 million more than anticipated.
Sales tax collections were up 14.2 percent from last November, while income taxes gained 13.9 percent because of the tax amnesty funds.
Meacham was surprised by the sales tax growth.
"To be in the midst of a national recession of unprecedented proportions and to see that our sales tax grew by 14 percent, that is phenomenal," he said. "I keep expecting those sales tax collections to fall off and we haven't seen it."
He said the numbers do not include receipts from heavy shopping on Friday after Thanksgiving, "so it appears we are in good shape heading into the holiday shopping season."
The revenue report was not all good, however.
Gross production tax receipts for oil and gas were up 36.1 percent from November in 2007, reflecting the decline in energy prices.
Motor vehicle tax collections dropped 46 percent from a year ago, reflecting a sharp downturn in car and truck sales.
Meacham said there also was a decline in individual income tax withholding receipts.