by Max Brantley
I've noted in recent state revenue reports the growth in sales tax revenue, a pretty good measure of economic activity, or at least retail sales.
Now comes a report — just in time to respond to Republican Jim Keet's complaint yesterday that Gov. Mike Beebe isn't sufficiently gloomy about the state of things in Arkansas (who dreamed up that campaign theme — "It sucks here worse than you think"?).
UALR's Institute for Economic Advancement says taxable sales have now increased for three consecutive quarters and the most recent quarterly results indicate accelerating expansion.
As Beebe might say: Not bad in the midst of terrible economic times nationally.
Arkansas Taxable Sales Up 4 Percent in the Second Quarter of 2010
The Institute for Economic Advancement (IEA), at the University of Arkansas at Little
Rock’s College of Business, announced the release of new preliminary* data showing a 4
percent increase in Arkansas Taxable Sales during the second quarter of 2010. The
increase follows a revised 2.6 percent expansion in the first quarter, and represents the
third consecutive quarterly increase.
Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster for the IEA, Dr. Michael Pakko, said
that the growth compares favorably with nationwide trends, “We saw a bit of a slowdown
in U.S. retail sales in the second quarter. In constrast, the preliminary data for Arkansas
suggest ongoing expansion—at an accelerating pace.”
The IEA’s Arkansas Taxable Sales data are based on sales and use tax reports from the
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. After making adjustments for lags
in the tax collection process, changes in tax law, and regularly fluctuating seasonal
patterns, the resulting statistics indicate growth in the underlying tax base — primarily
Details about the construction of the Arkansas Taxable Sales series and a spreadsheet of
recent data are available on Pakko’s web page, http://www.arkansaseconomist.com.
*Statistics for the second quarter of 2010 are preliminary, pending the forthcoming
publication of detailed data in the Department of Finance and Administration’s report,
Arkansas Fiscal Notes, for July 2010.