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Hiring Freeze Coming For Oklahoma City Due To Declining Tax Revenue

Oklahoma City Hall
Caleb Long
/
Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma City won’t be hiring new staff as it copes with lower tax collections.

City manager Jim Couch said during Tuesday’s city council meeting he's implementing a hiring freeze starting November 9.

Couch said sales tax collections for October were 3.2 percent below projections, and 2.6 percent below what was collected a year ago.

“It won't be a hard freeze. We'll take a look at positions on a case-by-case basis. That will give us some options and some flexibility as we go forward,” Couch said. “We like to do it this way because if we get into a situation where we do have to eliminate some positions, we would prefer to eliminate vacant positions if we have to do that. And I'm not saying we're going to, but it is a time of uncertainty."

There was an even bigger drop in use tax, which fell 13.7 percent below projections and 12.3 less than last year.

Couch said a few businesses typically dominate the use tax, making it more volatile than sales tax revenue, which is more broadly based, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

Use tax is assessed on the price of tangible personal property purchased outside Oklahoma and stored, used or otherwise consumed within the state. It tends to be dominated by only a few businesses at a time and is therefore more volatile than the more broadly based sales tax revenues. Deputy Budget Director Doug Dowler said City Hall could not reveal the identities of specific companies referenced by Couch. Use tax collections for October totaled $2.6 million, 13.7 percent below projections for the month and 12.3 percent less than last year for the same month.

Combined, it puts the city $4.2 million below its forecast.

Other cities in the area did better. Yukon reported 16.1 percent higher sales tax collections, and Moore saw an 8.2 percent increase.

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