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Oklahoma Economy Still Growing, Senate Budget Leader Lauds Revenue Growth

The latest revenue report from the Office of State Finance indicates continued growth in the Oklahoma economy, a sign that the state's economic policies are on the right track, according to a Senate budget leader.

"This is just more good news for Oklahoma. Whenever revenue collections increase, it means our economy is growing. Business, both small and large, is thriving in Oklahoma," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Haney was referring to the March revenue collection report issued by the Office of State Finance today.

According to the report, tax collections increased by $49.6 million in March, a 21.3 percent increase over the same period last year and 16.9 percent above the estimate. The tax collection total for the first eight months of this fiscal year is up by $252.8 million or 10.3 percent higher than the same period last year.

More importantly, FY '97 tax collections are outperforming projections with the current total running 7.5 percent higher than the state estimate.

"When the economy grows faster than the experts predicted it would, it's a great compliment to the state's economic policies and our overall business climate. We're definitely doing something right," said Senator Haney.

The State Finance Office has cautioned that some of the March growth may be due in part to slower processing of state income tax refunds. The Oklahoma Tax Commission has been hampered by a $2 million veto handed down by Governor Keating last year.

"The veto has slowed the delivery of income tax refunds this year, but we've tried to get things back on track with an emergency appropriation," said Senator Haney, referring to a supplemental appropriation for the Oklahoma Tax Commission approved by legislators last month.

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