by Max Brantley
When Gov. Beebe announced a drop in state tax revenue and the need for use of reserve money to meet budget, some contrary signals were noted, including a rise in state sales tax revenue.
UALR's Institute for Economic Advancement has crunched the numbers further and concludes there was a 2.4 percent increase in taxable sales in the first quarter of the year.
Dr. Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic forecaster for the IEA, interpreted the rise as a significant sign of economic recovery.
“With two consecutive quarterly increases, this is a clear indication that positive growth has taken hold in the Arkansas retail sales sector,” he said. “Mirroring similar gains that we’ve seen in statistics for retail sales nationwide, this information confirms recent trends suggesting that Arkansas is firmly back in the expansion phase of the business cycle.”