LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe said Wednesday he expects an additional $39.4 million more in general revenue will be available between now and the end of the fiscal year June 30.
The increase in the general revenue forecast for the final two months of the current fiscal year is due to “a continued positive trend in collections, especially in individual and corporate tax receipts,” the governor’s office said in a news release.
State Department of Finance and Administration Director Richard Weiss, in a letter Wednesday to the co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Economic and Tax Policy, said the additional $39.4 million will fully fund the Revenue Stabilization Act categories of A and B and add $10 million to the state’s “rainy day” fund.
“The economic recovery is continuing at a moderate pace and revenue growth is encouraging,” Weiss said.
The RSA prioritizes government expenditures for the fiscal year and bars deficit spending. State revenues are channeled through descending spending categories — A and B this fiscal year — with the highest priorities funded first and lesser priorities funded if money is available.
The state Department of Human Services will receive about $15.1 million of the additional funding, with much of it going to Medicaid programs. The state Department of Higher Education and a number of state agencies also will receive additional funding, according to DF&A.
The governor’s office said Beebe met with legislative leaders of both parties before adjusting the current revenue forecast. The forecast for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 will not change.
Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, said Wednesday that the budget revision is vindication for himself and other like-minded lawmakers who pushed for deeper tax cuts and spending reductions.
Burris and other House Republicans tried unsuccessfully to get an additional $21 million from Beebe’s proposed $4.7 billion budget for the 2012-2013 budget. He also suggested additional tax cuts.
“I would say that it once again validates those of us that advocated for more tax cuts in the 2011 session,” he said. “We were able to get some additional tax cuts, not as many as we would have liked, and I think those that cried wolf and claimed the sky would fall have once again been proven inaccurate in the way that they view the state’s economy.”