Beebe: Financial outlook 'flat' | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beebe: Financial outlook 'flat'

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 3:13 PM

BEEBE: Revenue flat.
  • BEEBE: Revenue 'flat.'
It's come to this. Gov. Mike Beebe has gone to issuing guidance on the monthly state revenue report, in the fashion of major corporations and quarterly financial statements. The report this week will be "relatively flat," reports Stephens Media from covering a speech Beebe gave to farmers today.

The 2012 legislature might be able to add a tiny amount of money to education spending for the next fiscal year, Beebe also said. But there'll be no further cut of the grocery tax, Beebe said. I'm guessing that state employees, many of them frozen in pay the last two years, might be looking at a third year of running in place. If they don't like it, they can get a job in Pulaski County government or run for the Pulaski Quorum Court, where the bonuses and raises just keep on coming thanks to the bounty of a countywide sales tax produced primarily in the cities in amounts disproportionate to the per capita distribution.

Let me add that the state revenue report has become one of the most tedious, over-analyzed reports in government, though new car registrations are right up there. Money's up or down. It's enough to meet budget or it's not. Not much else to say. Internet poaching of commerce makes the sales tax figure a less reliable economic indicator than it once was. Corporate accounting tricks make the corporate income tax figures mean less than nothing. The bottom line is the news. Roby Brock quotes Beebe as saying our economy remains "fragile," despite some promising reports today nationally on jobs, home sales and manufacturing, not to mention a jump in stock prices thanks to steps to shore up world banks.

What? Didn't hear about the stock market? Dow up 490 points today. Everything up roughly 4 percent.

CLARIFICATION: Matt DeCample, who apparently watches the Arkansas Blog almost as closely as Sam Brownback's office monitors high school Twitter accounts, informs me that Beebe misunderstood a question today and gave some predictions on BOTH this week's revenue report, coming Friday, and the 2013 revenue forecast coming tomorrow. Same tepid outlook, but DeCample advises me the governor doesn't plan a trend of giving advance guidance on revenue reports. We can be thankful for that. More here from Roby Brock, who also reports that Beebe mentions an end to Pulaski County desegregation funding by the state could provide leeway for grocery tax cut in 2013.

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