|Updated: 5/02/2012 4:03 pm
||Published: 5/02/2012 3:58 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas has collected $93.6 million more in revenue than expected for the year so far after enjoying a boost in sales and individual income tax collections last month, the state Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday.
The department said Arkansas' net available revenues for the year to date total $3.9 billion, which is $122 million above last year at this point and $93.6 million above forecast. Arkansas' fiscal year began July 1.
"This was a big month," Director Richard Weiss told reporters.
Arkansas' revenues in April totaled $558.9 million, which was $27.3 million above last year and $31 million above forecast. The state's coffers were helped by higher-than-expected sales and income tax collections.
Individual income tax collections totaled $466.1 million, which was $29.4 million above last year and $30.1 million above forecast. Sales tax collections totaled $181.1 million, which was $7.9 million above last year and $2.4 million above forecast.
Gov. Mike Beebe called the income tax collections numbers and an increase in individual income tax withholding a hopeful sign for the state's economy.
"It's a good sign for the future because it means people are working, and that's more sustainable," Beebe said.
The jump in revenue was announced a day after Beebe said the state likely would need to direct more revenue toward Medicaid to pay for a shortfall of up to $400 million expected next year. Beebe also said some service cuts also were likely needed to close the funding gap for the budget year that begins July 1, 2013.'
The Medicaid shortfall is expected to be the top agenda item when the Legislature convenes for its regular session in January.
Beebe said it was too early to know whether the revenues boost would help close that gap.
"It's too early to know whether or not we're going to change the forecast for next year, it's too early to know that, but if that trend continues it's the kind of help and assistance that would certainly help Medicaid," Beebe said.
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