By Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee’s general fund tax collections have beaten projections by nearly $400 million through the first half of the budget year.

The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration announced Wednesday that sales taxes exceeded estimates by $218 million since the July 1 start of the budget year, posting a 7.4 percent growth rate compared with the same period last year. Corporate franchise and excise taxes were $141 million more than expected.

January sales tax collections, which reflect economic activity in the previous month, were $58 million more than budgeted, and 8.6 percent higher than last year.

Finance Commissioner Larry Martin said the collections were driven by consumer spending due to low gas prices and an overall improving economy.

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