State revenue declines in fiscal 2016 | Arkansas Blog

State revenue declines in fiscal 2016


EMPHASIZES POSITIVE: Gov. Asa Hutchinson liked today's revenue numbers.
  • EMPHASIZES POSITIVE: Gov. Asa Hutchinson liked today's revenue numbers.
The final tally for the fiscal year ending June 30 shows Arkansas collected less tax revenue than the previous year — $6.451 billlion, or $19.2 million less than the year before.

Individual income tax collections were $40.2 million below the previous year while sales and use taxes were up $92 million, or about 4 percent, over the previous year. The state had an income tax cut during the year and employment rose, a good marker for sales taxes.  With refunds, the net collections increased 4.4 percent, however.

The state net presented a rosier picture because of what Gov. Asa Hutchinson has called "conservative budgeting." That is, he's intentionally tightened state spending in some areas — no pay raises, for example — to create a surplus that he wants to devote in part to highway construction, a historic raid on general revenue.

After mandatory off-the-top deductions, net revenue was $117.3 million, or 2.2 percent more than the previous year and 2.7 percent above forecast. That produces a "surplus" of $177.4 million that the governor plans to use for highways and other directed purposes.

The June totals reflected the year-long trend: Gross revenues were down 6.9 percent from the same month a year ago, but higher than the stingy forecast.

Here's the full report.
You can budget less and less to produce "surpluses." But if gross collections continue downward, something eventually has to give.

At a news conference, Hutchinson chose to emphasize the "net" rather than gross figures. And continues to promise more tax cuts. He also announced a trip to Europe to encourage economic development. The state is opening an office in Berlin.

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