I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and you are off to a great start to the New Year!
The new year is always a busy time at the Capitol as legislators are finalizing our bills to meet the bill filing deadline on Jan 20. We've already begun budget hearings for state agencies to examine their upcoming budget needs prior to session, which starts Mon., Feb. 7. Session is kicked off by the Governor's State of the State speech where he outlines his priorities.
Many of our policy discussions revolve around our projected upcoming available budget, since Oklahoma is a balanced budget state, meaning we cannot spend more money than we receive in revenue, which is a good thing.
Below is some really great news that I wanted to share regarding Oklahoma's 2021 economic performance:
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate has dropped every month since Feb. 2021, and we have been in the top 10 among all states with the lowest unemployment rate every month since June 2021.
Since April 2020, Oklahoma employers have added 289,059 jobs to the state’s economy. That is a 19% increase as compared to 16% nationwide.
Today we are at 2.5% unemployment rate, which is third lowest of any state in the nation. Our employers are doing a better job of keeping our citizens employed than the businesses in 47 other states.
The State Treasurer's report for December 2021 looked great. Our December gross receipts of $1.4 billion and 12-month gross receipts of $15.2 billion set new all-time highs.
Combined gross receipts for calendar year 2021 compared to calendar year 2020 show:
- Gross revenue is $15.18 billion, which is $1.99 billion or 15.1% above previous year.
- We had a historically great economic year in 2021 immediately following a historically bad economic year in 2020, leading to the significant gap in revenue numbers from year-to-year.
- This is also why it’s important to be fiscally disciplined and save in the good years and sustain a large state savings account so we can balance the good and bad economic years without huge cuts to core government services our citizens rely on, such as education, healthcare and infrastructure.
- Gross income taxes is $5.22 billion, an increase of $450 million or 9.4% above the previous year.
- Combined sales and use taxes generated $6.27 billion, an increase of $799 million or 14.6% increase.
- Oil and gas production tax collections generated $1.16 billion, an increase of $530 million or 84%.
I am very excited about the future of our great state. There is no doubt that we still have some challenges to overcome in 2022, as we do each year, but I am optimistic that as Oklahomans we will all work together and continue to move our state forward in a positive direction that we are all very proud of.
It truly is an honor to represent House District 51 at the State Capitol. As always, I hope you continue to contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have at the state level. My office phone is (405) 557-7405 and my email is email@example.com. God bless!
Rep. Brad Boles represents District 51 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Grady, McClain and Stephens Counties.