Arkansas State Revenue Above Forecast As Fiscal Year Winds Down

May 2, 2019

With just two months left in the current fiscal year, Arkansas took in more revenue in April than was forecasted.

The monthly revenue report from the state Department of Finance and Administration shows Arkansas's net available revenue was just over $750 million in April, about 15 percent above the state's forecast.

Economic forecaster Michael Pakko with the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at UA Little Rock said the numbers bode well for state government going into next year.

"The legislature has completed their fiscal year budget for the year coming up. The anticipation is that the categories of spending will all be fully funded, and these figures that show that we're coming in above forecast, if this kind of pattern continues, then this should carry over into the next fiscal year," Pakko said.

Gross state revenues in April totaled just under $960 million, with income tax collections 17 percent above forecast. Pakko said that correlates with a rise in household income.

"We saw that individual income was up four percent compared to a year ago. It was reported that that came from both increases in payments along with tax returns being sent in, and increases in payroll withholding. So that's evidence that household incomes are rising," Pakko said.

While most indicators saw increases, sales and use tax collections saw an almost 4 percent drop in April. Pakko says that's not too concerning when looking at the numbers for the overall fiscal year.

"The numbers are often distorted around tax day [April 15]… so that may just be a blip in the numbers," Pakko said. "Overall for the year-to-date, sales and use tax is up two percent, so we're seing a modest but positive increase in consumer spending for the entire fiscal year."

Pakko said sluggish sales tax revenue could stem from lower consumer confidence during the end of tax season. Year-to-date corporate income tax collections were over 46 percent above forecast, though Pakko said that is subject to change.