DALLAS – Arkansas can expect a surplus of $35.9 million when the current fiscal year ends June 30, officials said.
Revenues continued to outpace the forecast for February, rising 28.2% above the same month last year and 12.8% above projections, according to John Shelnutt, head of economic analysis and tax research for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
The net available revenues were $279.9 million or $61.6 million above those of February 2015, Shelnutt reported.
For the fiscal year to date, net available general revenues total $3.4 billion, which is $74.4 million, or 2.2%, higher than the same period last year and $31.8 million above the forecast that state finance officials revised Feb. 1.
"Results in February were above forecast because of declines in income tax refunds," Shelnutt reported. "Corporate income tax was above forecast in an otherwise low collection month for that category."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's highway funding plan relies on projected surpluses to plug a gap in Arkansas's highway budget. However, the $35.9 million for February is just a portion of the $192 million surplus expected under Hutchinson's plan.
The legislature will rely on the revenue figures when it convene in its fiscal session on April 13 to approve budgets for state agencies. The Arkansas legislature holds its fiscal sessions in February of even-numbered years. However, in 2015 the legislature moved the 2016 fiscal session to the second Wednesday in April.
Regular sessions in odd-numbered years are lengthier and more controversial than fiscal sessions because lawmakers tackle policy issues as well as writing budgets.
Fiscal sessions last 30 days and extending them requires the approval of 75 percent of each chamber. They may not be extended more than 15 days, so a fiscal session can last no longer than 45 days.