Arkansas general fund revenues were up in October for the sixth straight month, with gains in every category.

Net available general revenues in October totaled $354.5 million, the Department of Finance and Administration said last week, up $41 million from October 2009, and $4.2 million more than expected.

John Shelnutt, director of the department’s economic analysis division, attributed the revenue growth to strong collections in sales and income taxes. The two revenue sources are the largest portions of state revenues.

“Individual income tax withholding, which reflects employment and wages and is the most economically significant category of income tax collections, continued to exceed year-ago and forecast comparisons,” Shelnutt said.

Individual income tax collections in October totaled $206.3 million, $5.4 million above the forecast, and $15 million more than October 2009.

Gross receipt collections, which include sales and use taxes, totaled $175.2 million, an increase of $12.1 million from October 2009, and $2.1 million more than expected.

Total state revenues in the first four months of fiscal 2011 totaled $1.8 billion, which is $19 million more than expected, and $116.6 million more than the same period of fiscal 2010.

Sales and use taxes have generated $723.2 million so far in fiscal 2011, up $51.7 million from fiscal 2010, and $7.4 million above the forecast.

Gov. Mike Beebe will present the official revenue forecast for fiscal 2012 later this week, along with a balanced budget proposal.

Beebe said last month he may ask the General Assembly to reduce the state sales tax on groceries if monthly revenues continue to exceed expectations in fiscal 2011. The food tax has been lowered to 2% from 6% since Beebe took office in 2007.

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