State money not looking up | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 2, 2009

State money not looking up

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM

The September state revenue report is a doozy, and I don't mean good. For the month, gross revenues were down 14 percent against the same month last year and down 12 percent from the revenue forecast. Sales taxes plunged 10 percent year-to-year and income tax collections fell 22 percent.

For the first quarter of the state's budget year, money ran 7.2 percent below receipts in the first quarter last year and 6.4 percent below forecast.

I called Gov. Beebe's office to see if he is still comfortable that a turnaround later in the year will fix everything. The prepared response:

“I am concerned by this month’s revenue report and have asked the Department of Finance and Administration to perform a thorough review of their forecast in light of current revenue levels. Although Arkansas remains in a stronger fiscal position than the vast majority of her sister states, there is no doubt that the continuing global recession is having an impact within our borders; and state government must live within its means, just as every Arkansas business and family must.”

Richard Weiss, the state's chief fiscal officer, is also now saying that the sharp drop might mean a future reduction in the revenue forecast. That would mean spending cuts.

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