A lack of individual income tax refunds last month helped push Arkansas' revenues above predictions and last year's numbers, state financial officials said Monday, but warned they expected those gains to level off later this year.
The Department of Finance and Administration said that the state's net available revenues in February totaled $210.1 million. That's $20 million above the same month last year and $15.7 million above forecast. The state's revenues for the year to date are $99.2 million above forecast.
The department said the results were mainly driven by the relative lack of individual income tax returns received. State individual income tax returns are due April 15, the same day federal returns are due. Individual income tax refunds were $4.5 million below last year and $11.6 below forecast.
"We just have not had the filings we expected to have at this point," Finance and Administration Director Richard Weiss said. "I think we can be pretty confident we'll be caught up by the end of the fiscal year."
The state's revenues were also boosted by sales tax collections, which beat expectations for the first time in several months. The collections totaled $174.6 million, $8.6 million above last year and $1.6 million above forecast. Individual income tax collections were $198.3 million, $4.5 million above last year but $1.6 million below forecast.
Corporate income tax collections totaled $7.7 million, which is $3.7 million above last year and $2.2 million above forecast.
Gov. Mike Beebe said he was pleased to see the increase in sales tax revenue, but is concerned that the collections for the year to date are still lower than expected.
"Income tax is making up for it because people are working, but it's something worth watching," Beebe told reporters. "It's another reason to be conservative."