Tue, May 3, 2022 4:45 PM
By By Kim Jarrett The Center Square, The Center Square
(The Center Square) - The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration collected $1.125 billion in net revenues in April, shattering records and increasing the likelihood of a special session, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
April marks the first time the state has collected $1 billion in a month, according to a news release from Hutchinson's office.
The collections are $531.9 million above forecast and $345.7 million above April 2021 collections, according to the DFA. The state is $987.9 million over the annual revenue forecast with two months remaining in fiscal year 2022, according to DFA.
The governor said the report makes the possibility of a special legislative session to decide how to spend the surplus more likely. But it's still too early to tell, he said.
"I do not anticipate calling a special session before June 30, 2022," Hutchinson said in a statement. "As to the need for a session because of the anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the Mississippi abortion case, it will be necessary to wait for the final ruling to know whether additional legislation will be needed. The draft decision leaked to the media would not require new laws to be passed since Arkansas has a 'trigger' law that would ban abortions except to save the life of the mother if Roe v. Wade is reversed."
The increased revenues can be attributed to three factors, Hutchinson said. The first is the combination of the state's booming economy and the higher price of consumer goods, he said.
"Second, the national economic outlook has significant uncertainty, and there is a need for caution as we look at options for the end of the year surplus," Hutchinson said. "Third, the taxpayers need and deserve at least a portion of the surplus to be returned to them because the state should not be generating this large of a surplus."
Some possibilities for the surplus presented by Hutchinson last month included expanding broadband access throughout the state.