ADA — The Oklahoma Tax Commission reported Ada’s sales tax distributions for March 2006 increased more than $200,000 when compared to the same period last year, but city of Ada officials said the numbers are skewed by an accounting error at the commission.

“We believe the numbers are up because of the new retail businesses, but not by the amount the tax commission is reporting,” said Mark Bratcher, public information office for the city of Ada. “The city sales tax collections have been on an upward trend all year. We expect the numbers to be skewed next month when the tax commission makes corrections.”

A tax commission spokeswoman said Friday she could not confirm that a mistake had been made, but if it has it would be corrected next month. It is believed that the city’s sales tax collections increased about $50,000 over the same period last year.

The commission report shows that Ada was reimbursed $1,197,144 compared to $898,572 in March 2005. The distribution of sales tax collections primarily represent local tax receipts between Feb. 16 and March 15. Ada’s local sales tax is 4 percent, with another 4.5 percent earmarked for the state.

Bratcher said when the commission corrects the mistake it will likely show a large decrease next month.

Most other area cities also had modest increases, the report said.

Ada’s annual taxable retail sales topped $300 million for the first time during the 12-month period ending in March, according to the March 2006 edition of Ada Jobs Foundation’s Economic Journal and Review. However, the issue reported the skewed sales tax numbers. A spokeswoman for AJF said they believe Ada’s most recent report shows the city collected $150,000 less than the OTC reported.

Fiscal year-to-date figures for the first quarter of 2006 increased by more than 10 percent, according to the publication. The numbers do not reflect the opening of Chili’s and Applebee’s restaurants which opened in March.

Ada also collected $58,612 in use taxes, compared to $25,982 for the same period in 2005.

Statewide, more than $103.6 million in sales tax collections was returned to 499 cities, an increase of about $17.3 million from last year, according to the commission report.

In 1984 the state Legislature gave counties the authority to collect sales taxes not to exceed 2 percent. Pontotoc County does not have a county sales tax but several nearby counties do. County commissioners are considering putting a county tax to fund a new jail and other items on the ballot. District 1 County Commissioner said the earliest vote would be at a December special election.

The first state sales tax was approved by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1933 to support public schools. An additional penny sales tax was added in 1936 to fund old age pensions and to provide assistance for the blind and dependent children in conjunction with the federal Social Security program. The 2 percent state sales tax was increased to 3 percent a few years later, and in June 1987 was raised to 4 percent. The state sales tax was increased one-half of 1 percent for education in June 1999. In 1965, House Bill 1118 authorized incorporated cities and towns to levy and collect sales taxes. In 1984, the state Legislature gave counties the authority to have a sales tax not to exceed 2 percent.

A “use” tax on goods purchased outside the state and shipped into Oklahoma. Examples are purchases made on the Home Shopping Network, a book order from Readers Digest or a CD from Columbia House. Use tax has the same sales tax rates as items purchased at a local retailer.

Pontotoc County is one of 10 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties without a county sales tax. Murray County received more than $166,000 in the most recent sales tax distribution. Other area counties that collect sales tax are Coal ($50,632), Johnston ($79,940) and Seminole ($100,884).