Report: October State Revenue Down 2.5 Percent

Arkansas' October net available general revenue collections totaled $355.6 million, down $9 million or 2.5 percent, from the same month last year, according to a report Friday by the state Department of Finance and Administration.

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The results were also $21.6 million or about 6 percent below forecast.

The department attributed the shortfall to a smaller collection of individual income tax due to payroll timing in withholding tax. Sales and use taxes were also down among businesses and consumer categories, the report said.

Automobile tax rebounded, but the department said "a significant upswing" in corporate income tax refunds detracted from the month's net revenue.

For the month, sales and use tax collections were $171.3 million, down 0.6 percent from the same time last year, and about 5 percent below forecast.

Sales tax collections have fallen short for the last three months, and finance officials and forecasters have been unsure of the reason. In his economic forecast for the state on Tuesday, Michael Pakko, the chief economist and state economic forecaster for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Institute for Economic Advancement, said he expects sale tax collections to rebound going into the new year.

Corporate income tax collections were $22.3 million, down 10 percent from the same time last year and 3 percent below forecast. Refunds were $13.9 million, 32 percent below last year but nearly $11 million above forecast.

Year to date, net available general revenue reached $1.6 billion, about 3 percent above the same time last year and more than 1 percent above forecast.