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Oklahoma Credit Outlook Improves
OKLAHOMA CITY – Saying Oklahoma state government has done well managing its finances during the pandemic, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings has revised the state’s outlook from negative to stable, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced today.
S&P had placed the state on negative outlook at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. With the revision announcement, the state’s current credit rating of AA was affirmed.
Treasurer McDaniel said the outlook change is encouraging and should help the state reduce interest costs on future bond issues.
“State leaders have exercised fiscal discipline during the pandemic,” McDaniel said. “This announcement from a widely respected independent source is welcome news.”
The S&P outlook change also anticipates responsible decision-making will continue.
The report states the revision is based, in part, on “the expectation that Oklahoma’s legislative and executive branches will reach consensus on actions to restore and maintain structural balance in future budgets and sustain a commitment to rebuilding reserves.”
The state’s primary reserve funds are the Constitutional Reserve Fund and the Revenue Stabilization Fund. They currently contain approximately $230 million, which is about 3 percent of general revenue appropriations. The combined balance topped $1 billion prior to the pandemic.
Other factors cited by S&P for its more favorable outlook include the state’s relatively low debt burden and its decade-long history of sufficient pension funding.
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For more information contact:
Tim Allen, Deputy Treasurer for Communications & Program Administration
Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority (OCIA) announced today it is offering $13.24 million of State Agency Facilities Revenue Bonds TaxExempt Series 2020D (Oklahoma Department of Human Services Project) and $48.955 million of State Agency Facilities Revenue Bonds Federally Taxable Series 2020E (Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department Project) on December 3, 2020.
The bonds will be offered via negotiated sale through the OCIA’s underwriting syndicate, led by co-senior managers Morgan Stanley and Bank of Oklahoma, with Raymond James as co-manager on the transaction. The Municipal Advisor is Hilltop Securities.
A Preliminary Official Statement has been released and is available at www.ociabonds.com. The OCIA’s bonds are rated “AA-” by S&P and Fitch.
For more information:
Deputy State Treasurer/OCIA Director
State officials on Wednesday unveiled the new Capitol visitors entrance on the southeast side. During the administration of former Gov. Mary Fallin, lawmakers approved $245 million in bonds for repairs to the interior and exterior of the Capitol, which was plagued by plumbing, electrical and infrastructure issues.
General Revenue Fund collections in August were $438.4 million and came in at $4.1 million, or 0.9%, above the monthly estimate. This is $13.0 million, or 2.9%, below collections in August of 2019. Overall August collections met expectations, but were lower compared to August of 2019 due to the continued depression of gas production tax and decline of other collections.
“This month’s collections were largely boosted by unemployment remittances and timing of corporate income tax payments,” said OMES Director Steven Harpe. “These anomalies should not be expected to continue in other months, especially after federal assistance payments are fulfilled and deferred tax payments are received.”
Income taxes continued with a second month of outperforming prior year collections due to unemployment relief and changes in income filing requirements. Sales tax collections growth to the General Revenue Fund was also not economically driven, but the result of the August 2019 sales tax being reduced by a one-time, $22 million allocation to other state funds. According to the State Treasurer’s August’s Gross Receipts Report, gross sales receipts were down by 4.4%.
Major tax categories in August contributed the following amounts to the GRF:
As state government’s main operating fund, the GRF is the key indicator of state government’s fiscal status and the predominant funding source for the annual appropriated state budget. GRF collections are revenues that remain for the appropriated state budget after rebates, refunds, other mandatory apportionments and after sales and use taxes are remitted back to municipalities. In contrast, gross collections, reported by the State Treasurer, are all revenues remitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Revenue tables can be viewed on the OMES website: https://omes.ok.gov/pages/august-2020-financial-data-tables
Bond Buyer Article Summarizing the fiscal year 2021 state budget.
The long-awaited American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City is getting a new name.
City and tribal officials announced Thursday (12/12/19) the facility will be called the First Americans Museum. Museum officials say the old name was unwieldy and that the term “Indians” is historically inaccurate.