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VOL. 127 | NO. 151 | Friday, August 03, 2012

Ark. Starts Fiscal Year With Revenues Slightly Up

ANDREW DeMILLO | Associated Press

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas' fiscal year began with revenues tracking slightly ahead of forecast and above last year's figures, though a dip in sales tax revenue hurt gains in individual and corporate income tax collections, the state's finance office said Thursday.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said that the state's revenues in July totaled $403.9 million. That's $26.9 million above last year and $15.3 million above forecast. The state's fiscal year began July 1.

"We think our forecast is pretty much where we thought it would be right now," said Tim Leathers, the department's deputy director.

Individual income taxes for July totaled $212.1 million, $18.5 million above last year and $12.8 million above forecast. Corporate income tax collections totaled $25.9 million, which was $700,000 above last year and $3.3 million above forecast.

Sales tax collections totaled $177.9 million, which was $1 million below last year and below forecast by $7.5 million

Gov. Mike Beebe said he was concerned about the dip in sales taxes, which he blamed partly on confidence in the economy. He said it may also reflect sales on some items leveling off after larger purchases earlier in 2012.

"Some of it may be we had huge surges earlier in the year with people buying cars and big-ticket items. You know, you can't sustain that every month," Beebe told reporters at the state Capitol.

Arkansas ended its fiscal year in June with a $145 million surplus, and state officials say that figure could to grow to $200 million by the time the Legislature meets in January. Beebe and lawmakers have eyed the money to help fill a projected shortfall in the state's Medicaid program.

Beebe said Thursday he still expects to propose a substantial part of the money for Medicaid, which is expected to be up to $400 million short next year. He also said he wants to direct some money toward an economic development incentive fund.

Part of the money may also be needed to supplement current budgets for some state agencies such as the Forestry Commission, which has been battling wildfires throughout the state.

"You can rest assured there will be a demand for that," Beebe said.

Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 166 10,044
MORTGAGES 105 195 13,070
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 35 2,573
BUILDING PERMITS 216 370 23,894
BANKRUPTCIES 82 152 9,685
BUSINESS LICENSES 42 51 3,654
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 103 264 14,227
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 53 3,116

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