The Edmond Sun

Business

January 6, 2014

Treasurer: Economy advancing, but slower

EDMOND — Oklahoma’s economy slowed down a bit in 2013 but still continued positive strides with 3.2 percent growth compared to 3.8 percent in 2012, said Ken Miller, state treasurer.

Gross revenue for the state in 2013 totals $11.446 billion, said Miller, who released the state’s monthly gross receipts Monday at the state Capitol.

“All major sources of revenue finished the year in growth territory, just not as robust as during the past few years,” Miller said. “National and state economic data, such as consumer and business confidence, real estate ands stock prices, point to continued growth in the new year.”

Oil revenue demonstrated the best annual numbers, Miller said. Gross production rebounded from 2012 and the beginning of 2013 with eight months of sustained growth, or 9 percent better than 2012, he said.

“I certainly don’t disagree that we need to do all we can for our anchor industry,” Miller said. “Having said that, I think having the incentives that we have need to be continually reviewed if it’s going to be an incentive. If it’s going to be a change in tax policy, then that’s different.”

Miller said if the state moves away from an incentive system, he would favor lowering the tax rate on all oil and gas production. This would provide the energy industry certainty and additional confidence, he said.

There is willingness to change the overall tax code by lowering the tax rate for all production, Miller added.  The Oklahoma Tax Commission reports the effective gross production tax rate is 5.5 percent for oil and 5.3 percent for natural gas.

Ninety percent of all oil and gas production is deep and horizontal, he said. So Miller said one must consider if incentives are needed to secure what is normally done.

“I think all of the industry and political leaders want what’s best for our state,” Miller said.

Gross income tax collections in 2013 resulted in a 1 percent reduction from last year, Miller said. Corporate collections ended the year down 1.6 percent from the prior 12 months, Miller said.

The Christmas shopping season from mid-November to mid- December improved by 1 percent, or $3.5 million more than the same period in 2012.

Business confidence and consumer spending in a state where the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent show an optimistic trend for the state.

“Things are operating on all cylinders here in Oklahoma,” Miller said.

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