Luther, April 22, 2020 – The Town of Luther continues a downward trend on sales tax collections. Although the Oklahoma Tax Commission has not released sales tax distributions for the last half of March and first of April when the coronavirus forced the closure of some of Luther’s “non-essential” businesses, sales tax collections had been down for the year compared to a year ago.
OTC reported sales tax collection for Luther from February 16 – March 15, 2020, at $31,673. The same period during 2019 was nearly $54,000. Those numbers signal a new trend that the Town Board of Trustees has been watching, even before the coronavirus closures occurred in mid-March. For the first four months of reporting in 2020, Luther collected $134,467; overall, that is down $46,000 from the year before.
When it comes to sales taxes collected through the “use tax,” or internet sales, attributed to Luther, that number is also down almost $18,500 for the first four months of the year. While $26,000 has been collected in “use” taxes for 2020 to date, according to OTC, this time last year, the Town collected almost $45,000. However, the 2019 tax numbers are generally seen as a “gift,” a result of one-time sales tax infusions due to materials for construction of both the new location of Bancfirst in Luther, and the new Kickapoo Turnpike.
Oklahoma’s municipalities operate largely on sales tax collections (fines and fees are other ways). Luther’s sales tax rate is three cents per dollar. For comparison while April OTC report shows Luther collected $38,000 in sales and use taxes for the April report, Oklahoma City collected $43 million and Edmond $6 million. Due to the forced closing of “non-essential” businesses during the coronavirus crisis, The City of Oklahoma has announced it will make cuts to city budgets.
At the April 14 meeting of the Luther Town Board of Trustees, spending decisions brought more discussion pending the uncertainty of the economy. The Luther Register posted running comments from the meeting on this thread on Facebook, when the Town’s youtube connection of the meeting was weak. NOTE: Luther Register News plans to carry the April 23 Town Planning meeting on FB Live.
In May, Town of Luther staff will present proposed budgets for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2020) to the town’s governing Board of Trustees. Before a new budget is adopted, a public hearing is required to be held for input. Read this Luther Register News article about last year’s budget hearing. What a difference a year makes.