The state of Arkansas has ended the fiscal year with $177.4 million left in the bank. The amount left after all of the expenses are paid is referred to as the surplus.
The legislature will determine how that money is spent in the 2017 Regular Session.
We are now three months away from beginning the state budget process for the next year. So now is the time to be reviewing how our state performed over the past 12 months.
In Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015- June 30,2016) gross collections which included all state taxes and fees totaled $6.4 billion. This is a decrease of $19.2 million from the year before, but $42.6 million more than what was predicted.
However, the net available revenue for the previous year was up. The net available revenue is what is available to the state budget after individual and corporate refunds and funds for our constitutional offices are disbursed.
The net available revenue totaled $5.3 billion. This is 2.2 percent more than the year before.
The fiscal year ended above forecast as a result of improving growth in individual income tax collections. The net gain was 4.4 percent over year ago and 3.0 percent or $82 million above forecast. Corporate Income tax collections after refunds also added to results above forecast. Among smaller collections categories, tobacco taxes were above year ago collections and above forecast. Revenue from Games of Skill was also up 18 percent over prior year.
The state budget process is central to the administration of state government. As well as allocating resources, budgets set policy, and lay the foundation for future planning and program review. However, state fiscal conditions change throughout the fiscal year. Tracking these conditions is crucial in addressing fiscal challenges that arise.
While we are always relieved to see that our economy is growing and there is money left over from the previous year, we are cautious approaching every new budget to ensure we can provide our you with the services you pay for such as quality education, resources for our foster children, care for our elderly and so much more.
We encourage you to read this year's entire revenue report. We have posted it online at www.arkansashouse.org