State revenue was up in February for the seventh time in the first eight months of fiscal 2011, but fell below expectations.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration last week said general revenue collections of $371.5 million in February were $6.5 million higher than in February 2010 but $8.1 million less than the official revenue estimate.
The state sales tax generated $162.4 million last month, up $4.3 million from last year but $5.3 million less than forecast.
Individual income-tax collections of $178.1 million were $2.1 million less than expected and barely above February 2010 totals.
General revenue collections in fiscal 2011 of $3.54 billion are $72.3 million more than came in during the first eight months of fiscal 2010.
Total collections since the beginning of fiscal 2011 on July 1 are $30 million below the forecast.
The sales tax has brought in $1.4 billion in fiscal 2011, up $75.4 million from the same period in fiscal 2010 and $7.7 million less than expected for the period.
Richard Weiss, director of the finance department, said the February collections reflect a growing but uneven economic recovery.
Gov. Mike Beebe has proposed a $4.6 billion general fund budget for fiscal 2012 that assumes tax collections will be up $120 million next year. Beebe is pushing a 0.5% reduction in the state sales tax on groceries that is expected to reduce revenue by about $20 million.
The eight Democrats and 12 Republicans on the House Committee on Revenue and Taxation voted last week to delay action on three tax-cutting bills approved by the Senate until they could review the latest revenue report.
House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, a member of the committee, said the lackluster revenue report contained mixed signals.
“Obviously the tax cuts that we look at have got to be offset by revenue,” he said. “What you saw today was just a committee realizing that we’re not under any time pressure at this point and wanted to do due diligence in digesting the new information.”