Report: Arkansas revenue below forecast

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas finance officials on Tuesday said the state’s revenue fell below expectations in February but was above the same month last year, with winter weather affecting sales tax collections.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said net available revenue last month totaled $212.2 million, which is $2 million above last year and $4.7 million below forecast.

The state’s revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 so far is $20.1 million above forecast.

Individual income tax collections in February totaled $226.7 million, which was $28.5 million above the same month last year and $14.7 million above forecast. The state paid out $163.5 million in individual income tax refunds, which was $14.8 million above last year and $5.9 million above forecast.

Sales tax collections totaled $167 million, which was $7.6 million below last year and $13.8 million below forecast. State officials said the winter weather that’s hit the state over the past two months had affected retailers’ receipts.

Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters he believed the state’s revenue still remained within forecast but wanted to see improvement in sales tax collections.

“The income tax continues to be strong, which means people are working,” Beebe said. “We’re pretty much on target, pretty much on track. I’d like to see sales tax numbers be a little stronger, but we’ll see how much of that is the weather and how of that is the economy.”

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