Treasurer Concerned About Soft Oil Prices

Oklahoma’s monthly tax collectons continue to show steady expansion but the impact of falling oil prices is beginning to worry Ken Miller, the State Treasurer.

“While we will monitor the effects of softer crude oil prices, clearly, Oklahomans are continuing to earn and spend more as reflected in this month’s numbers,” said Miller, trying to sound confident in releasing the October gross receipts.

As oil prices dropped to $78 a barrel this week compared to the August average price per barrel of $96.54, October collections of the gross production tax on gas and oil increased only one-tenth of one percentage point, reflecting the lower prices.

“That compares to an increase of almost 15 percent in gross production collections during the past 12 months,” explained Miller. The collections in October are based on oil field activity in August. But as Miller pointed out, since then prices have continued to drop. And he’s concerned because the soft oil prices might affect any revenue forecast for the state.

The oil and natural gas taxes brought in $73.58 million for October which was an increase of only $93,000 or 0.1 percent from October 2013. Compared to September reports, the gross production collections were down by $4.34 million or 5.6 percent.

Otherwise, overall revenue collections for October were up by nearly 4 percent and the 12-month numbers showed growth of just under 5 percent. The collections totaled more than $1 billion, up $35.89 million or 3.7 percent from October 2013.