Canadian County sales tax revenues down 24.1% in 2020

Drop in oil and gas activity blamed; commissioner calls it ‘yellow flag’

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Jack Stewart

By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

A significant decline in Canadian County sales tax collections – a trend that started 20 months ago – has continued through 2020.

Canadian County collects a .35% sales tax with proceeds used to fund operations at the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center.

Through September, Canadian County has received $5,172,031 in sales tax collections from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. While that may seem like a considerable amount, it’s 24.1% below the total from the same nine-month reporting period in 2019.

“Sales tax (revenues) – as we are all aware – in 2020 has been down every single month from where it was at the same month in 2019,” Canadian County District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart said.

Stewart reminded fellow county commissioners of the sales tax revenue drop during Monday’s weekly commissioners’ meeting.

“As we go into our budget cycle that we’re in right now, be aware that sales tax has been down every single month – and it’s fairly significant on the percentage side,” he said.

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Stewart, a member of the Canadian County juvenile center’s Citizens Advisory Board, said the center has ample reserves to offset the drop.

The District 3 commissioner said there’s “not a concern of anything closing down out there.”

“But it is a ‘yellow flag’ that we need to keep our eyes on,” Stewart said.

Canadian County officers had their third county budget conference Tuesday morning in El Reno.

Double-digit declines, year-over-year, have become the norm for Canadian County. The monthly sales tax disbursements were down 33.2% this June compared to the same month in 2010, and an eye-opening 48.2% this January in the year-over-year comparison.

The last month that Canadian County’s sales tax disbursement was more than the same month the previous year was February 2019.

The year-over-year decline started in March 2019 and has now continued for 20 consecutive months.

The extended decline in Canadian County sales tax collections is being blamed on a decline in oil and gas production, including the closing of several oil and gas operations.

Several large oil and gas operations – notably Halliburton, Chesapeake and Sandridge – have left Canadian County or had massive layoffs.

For each month of 2020, the monthly sales tax receipt from the Oklahoma Tax Commission has been well below the same month in 2019.

For September, Canadian County received $569,275 from the state tax commission – 20.3% below the $714,016 received in September 2019.

That wasn’t much better than in August, when Canadian County saw its monthly sales tax disbursement fall 19.6% below August 2019.

Here is a month-by-month breakdown of Canadian County sales tax collections in calendar year 2020 compared to the same months in 2019: