The City of Tulsa's February sales tax check, which covers the period from mid-December 2015 to mid-January 2016, as reported by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, totaled $21,353,718 showing a 0.9 percent decrease from the same period one year ago. This total is 3.8 percent below budget estimates.
Sales tax collections for the fiscal year are slightly higher than one year ago. The sales tax total since July 2015 is $160.5 million compared with $159.2 million for the same period last year, showing a slight increase of 0.8 percent.
However, the February 2016 collections were slightly lower than February 2015, marking the first month in the fiscal year that collections actually dipped below the previous year.
Finance Director Mike Kier said the City has begun to revise its budget projections and will be bracing for potential continued declines for the last part of the fiscal year. Mayor Bartlett has implemented a hiring freeze and asked department heads to reduce spending.
Use taxes for February totaled $2,346,743 which is down 1 percent from the same period a year ago, and 6.2 percent below budget estimates.
Use tax collections for the fiscal year are lower than one year ago. The use tax total since July 2015 is $16,042,916 compared with $16,390,860 for the same period last year, showing a 2.1 percent decrease.
Because flat growth in sales taxes continue, and are combined with other revenue dips and the ongoing lowering of oil prices, Bartlett said the Governor's announcement to address tax code reform is welcomed timing.
"I appreciate Governor Fallin considering various options to modernize and diversify our funding structure in Oklahoma as sales and use taxes for Tulsa are declining. I look forward to working with Governor Fallin and our State government to find solutions for tax code reform," said Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. "The City of Tulsa will continue to control expenditures so we can provide core services to our citizens."
Sales tax and use tax collections provide two-thirds of the City of Tulsa's general fund. Vital services such as police and fire protection, 911 emergency dispatch, snow and ice removal from streets, pothole repair and mowing of grass in medians and parks are supported by sales and use taxes.