Arkansas sales tax collections fell in September for the third month in a row, but an increase in the individual income tax pushed the monthly revenue total past expectations.

General revenues totaled $554 million last month, the Department of Finance and Administration said last week. Collections were $27.4 million above the official forecast and $32 million more than in September 2011. September revenues were the highest since September 2008's $541 million total.

The individual income tax generated $275.5 million in September. Collections were $30 million more than expected. First-quarter income tax collections of $677.4 million are $43 million more than expected.

September sales tax revenues of $177.8 million were off $7.2 million from the expected level. Revenues from the sales tax are lagging in fiscal 2013, with collections of $533.7 million, $24 million less than expected. Much of the income tax increase is from higher withholding due to an additional payday in September, said finance director Richard Weiss.

The state expects to collect $5.93 billion in general revenue in fiscal 2013.

The higher-than-expected revenue totals since fiscal 2013 began June 1 are normal fluctuations in the state's annual revenue stream, said Gov. Mike Beebe.

"It just has to do with the calendar," he said." It's not anything to get excited about other than it's a good, steady, solid indication that our economy is slowly recovering."

Total collections in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 of $1.4 billion are $38 million above the official forecast.

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