Fall in Sales Tax Collections Lead To Below Forecast Revenue Report

Oct 2, 2014

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock.

The first quarter of the state’s fiscal year has come to a close and finance officials reported Thursday that revenue is slightly below forecast. John Shellnut, with the Department of Finance and Administration, said individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, and sales tax collections all fell below forecast for September.

He expects the sales tax shortfall, the most significant problem, to improve.

“Collections were down 1.7 percent from last year and $8.1 million below forecast for the month. The problem was in retail and utility categories of collections. But I think the issue there is that with income continuing to grow at a fairly healthy level I think the sales tax problem will correct itself over time,” said Shellnut.

In September the net available general revenue of $520 million dollars was about half a percent below the same point last year, and 1.8 percent, or $9.7 million, below forecast.

Shelnutt said collections from the gaming operations at Oaklawn and Southland racetracks have increased.

“The main growth is in games of skill or gaming. Percentage wise it is a fairly healthy growth rate, still double-digit growth,” said Shellnut.

He said gaming is a relatively small part of the revenue total but has shown regular growth.