Latest revenue reports show Arkansas’s economy is strong
From State Representative Deborah Ferguson At the end of every month, legislators are given a copy of the General Revenue Report. The most recent report shows the state collected a record amount for August.
For the month of August alone revenue totaled $434.1 million. That is 6.9 percent more than August 2017.
All major revenue collection categories were above forecast for the month of August. Individual Income Tax revenue was up 5.6 percent compared to 2017. Sales tax collections were 5.4 percent above last year. Corporate Income tax collections also increased.
We are only two months into the new fiscal year.
Revenue collected so far total $903.4 million. That is 43 million or 5 percent above year ago levels. This is also $18 million above what had been previously forecasted.
When we see reports like this, it indicates the strength of our economy. We have known for some time that more Arkansans are on the job. Our unemployment rate is 3.7 percent and has been below 4 percent for several months. This information will guide our decision making as we approach the next session. Before us will be proposals to increase funding for agencies as well as proposals to cut taxes.
Arkansas’s two largest sources of general revenue are collected from a portion of the state sales/use tax and from the Arkansas individual income tax.
Other general revenue sources include: taxes on alcohol and tobacco products; gaming and pari-mutual betting on horse and dog racing; severance taxes on oil, minerals, gravel, and natural gas; corporate franchises and corporate income; and real estate transfers.
When it comes to spending, we devote nearly half of every dollar that comes into the state to education. The rest of our budget is largely devoted to human services and prisons.
The decisions we make with your tax dollars impact you, your community, and your state. I will continue to update you as we receive more reports and recommendations for future tax cuts.