Budget & Tax
Oklahoma revenue numbers encouraging, but pro-growth reforms still needed
July 20, 2021
Oklahoma’s total gross receipts for fiscal year 2021 have come in at $14.3 billion, just $80 million less than what was collected in fiscal year 2019 when adjusted for inflation. Total collections have grown by more than $1.3 billion compared to last year’s collection in fiscal year 2020. These numbers offer a few signs of hope for the state.
Sources: Oklahoma State Treasury, CPI calculator
First, with collections now near previous record levels, Oklahoma has shown a quicker economic recovery than most other states. This was due in large part to the action of Governor Kevin Stitt, who lifted restrictions on economic activity early on during the pandemic. Oklahomans were allowed to go back to work much earlier than residents of most other states.
Second, looking back on fiscal year 2020 data shows the downturn was not quite as severe as it was in the rest of the country. There was certainly a dip in revenue collections compared to fiscal year 2019, yet collections remained above fiscal year 2018 totals. This means there was less of a gap to cover in terms of economic recovery.
While things might not wholly be back to normal, it is a good sign that there is not much further to go. The focus should now turn from stabilizing the economy to growing it again. Federal action on government spending and tax increases may hamper growth across the country, but there are still ways Oklahoma can make itself more competitive than surrounding states. The tax cuts enacted during the previous legislative session—lowering the corporate and individual income tax rates—are a positive first step, but only a first step.
If Oklahoma lawmakers want to compete with surrounding states like Texas, there is more to do.