Sales tax collections, low tax refunds keep Arkansas revenue ahead of forecast for year

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — A boost in sales tax collections and lower than expected tax refunds last month helped keep Arkansas' revenue ahead of forecast, state finance officials said Tuesday.

The state Department of Finance and Administration said the state's net available revenue in February totaled $218.3 million. That's $6.2 million above the same month last year and $14.3 million above forecast.

The state's revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals $3.3 billion, which is $94.6 million higher than expected.

"If you look at the year to date, we feel like we're doing well and hopefully this will continue," DFA Director Larry Walther told reporters. "We don't know if this will continue."

The latest revenue figures come as lawmakers are in the final weeks of a legislative session where they've already approved cutting income taxes for the middle class by $102 million a year. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who campaigned on the tax cut promise, has cautioned lawmakers looking at more tax cuts to be wary of the impact on the budget but legislative leaders haven't ruled out additional reductions.

Sales tax collections in February totaled $176.5 million, a $9.5 million increase over the same month last year and $8.4 million higher than forecast. The state paid out $148.4 million in individual income tax refunds, which was $15.1 million less than the same month last year and $24.8 million less than expected.

Individual income tax collections totaled $210.5 million, which were $16.2 million less than the same month last year and $17.4 million below forecast. Corporate income tax collections totaled $4.3 million, which were $1.2 million less than the same month last year and $1.4 million below forecast.

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