TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - State economists are projecting that state tax collections should continue to grow slowly over the next two years.
Preliminary estimates released Thursday show economists expect the state's main budget account to grow by 4 to 5 percent per year between now and the middle of 2015 as Florida begins to slowly recover from the recession.
The growth could be good news for both Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature since it would lessen the need for budget cuts in the near future to balance the state budget.
The slight uptick in state tax collections could aid also Scott in his quest to cut the state's corporate income tax rate. Legislators were reluctant to embrace Scott's tax cut because it would have required large cuts in spending on schools, health care and other programs.
Economists will meet all day to come up with a final figure, but the initial projections suggest economists do not expect any major changes from estimates that state legislators used to draw up this year's state budget. The state's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
The state's largest source of money is the 6-percent sales tax, although other taxes including one on corporate income are part of the main budget account.
Collections so far this year have been slightly over initial estimates, but state economists warned earlier this summer that the state economy is still dealing with the fallout from the recession.
The preliminary figures show a range of possible scenarios from the state receiving about $144 million more in taxes over the next two months to the state receiving $16 million less than previous estimates.
But that's a small change since Florida's main budget account this past year was $23.6 billion. Florida's overall state budget is nearly $70 billion, but that includes federal aid for programs like Medicaid and spending on roads that does not come from the main budget account.
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