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State revenue forecaster shocked by April's surge in state tax collections

by Michael R. Wickline | May 3, 2022 at 12:01 p.m.
John Shelnutt (right), the state’s chief economic forecaster, is shown in this 2011 file photo with Richard Weiss.

Fueled by larger than expected gains in individual and corporate income tax collections, Arkansas' state general revenues in April increased by $378.7 million or 40% over a year ago to $1.3 billion and exceeded the state's forecast by $576 million or 76.7%.

This year's income tax filing deadline was April 18 and last year's income tax filing deadline was May 17, a state Department of Finance and Administration spokesman said Tuesday.

John Shelnutt, the state's chief economic forecaster, said he's shocked by the state's general revenue tax collections last month, but they have been volatile during the covid-19 pandemic. He said he expects other states to report similar increases in tax collections and large surpluses.

Individual income tax collections in April increased by $339.8 million over a year ago to $810.8 million and exceeded the state's forecast by $404.6 million, while sales and use tax collections for the month dropped by $17.3 million from a year ago to $271.5 million but exceeded the state's forecast by $29.7 million, the finance department said Tuesday in its monthly revenue report.

The state's corporate income tax collections in April increased by $58.2 million over a year ago to $210 million and exceeded the state's forecast by $136.8 million.

In April, the state's net general revenues increased by $345.7 million over a year ago to $1.1 billion and exceeded the state's forecast by $531.9 million.

April is the 10th month of fiscal year 2022.

During the first 10 months of fiscal 2022, the state's net general revenues increased by $736.1 million over the same period in fiscal 2021 and exceeded the state's forecast by $987.9 million.

State officials already have built a $264 million general revenue surplus into their projections for fiscal 2022 so the state has accumulated a $1.25 billion temporary surplus so far in fiscal 2022, Shelnutt said.

He said it looks like the state's general revenue surplus may grow beyond $1.25 billion by June 30, but he doubts that surplus will exceed $1.5 billion.

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