Arkansas' April Tax Collections Exceeded Expectations (Editorial)

Bad news sells. The media are often accused of publishing or broadcasting only bad news. Of course, most of that perception is in the eye of the beholder. What's bad for some is good news to others.

This week, however, there was good news for Arkansas' economy, and that should make all of us happier. Well, all right, maybe all those who forked over their taxes last month aren't so happy, but ....

The state's revenue report for April showed tax collections exceeded expectations and the financial picture appears sound as it heads into the final quarter of the fiscal year.

Year-to-date net general available revenue topped $3.5 billion, up 7.2 percent above last year. Individual income tax collections increased 8.8 percent to $1.98 billion, and corporate income taxes collected — $304.9 million — were up 27.6 percent. The state's budget surplus currently stands at $233.7 million.

Meanwhile, the Business Conditions Index for Mid-America, put out each month at Creighton University in Nebraska, showed record business expansion in Arkansas.

The school's economic index for the state rose to 78.6, based on a scale of zero to 100 with numbers less than 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing and numbers greater than 50 indicating expansion.

The report said Arkansas added 6,600 jobs in the first quarter, and a gain of more than 7,000 jobs is expected in the second quarter.

The only sour note: Higher interest rates and rising energy prices could slow things down during the rest of the year.

Still, there was good news for a while.