State Revenue Streak Ends, All Eyes on the Energy Industry

  • Joe Wertz

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma has enjoyed two years of revenue growth.

The streak has been broken, the State Treasurer said today. The biggest drop: taxes from oil and gas.

Total collections for March 2012 were only down about 0.3 percent from the same month last year, but the gross production tax fell by more than one-third, Miller said in his monthly report.

This is the fourth consecutive month of declining tax revenues from oil and natural gas, Miller said. There is a delay between market activity and tax receipts. March’s numbers reflect market activity from January, and Miller expects “a period of shrinking natural gas tax collections.”

The price of natural gas is hovering around a 10-year low. State officials have to estimate revenue to create budgets and plan expenses.

The official estimate for 2013 is based on natural gas having an average monthly price of $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet. At that rate, Oklahoma assesses a 7 percent tax. That tax rate drops to 4 percent if the average monthly prices falls below $2.10 per Mcf, Miller said.

On Monday, natural gas fell below $1.90 per Mcf at the Henry Hub, where most Oklahoma gas is marketed.

Fortunately, low natural gas prices are being buoyed by high oil prices, Miller said.

“In the coming months, we will closely watch the energy sector as it is a leading sector of Oklahoma’s economy,” Miller said.