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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — State revenue collections are about $12 million ahead of projections with the fiscal year more than half over, a University of Tennessee economist said Friday.

 “Revenue growth throughout the year has remained strong,” said Dr. Matt Murray, director of the UT-Knoxville Center for Business and Economic Research.

 “We have growth of 6 percent for the year — 5.3 percent in February, but that’s still very healthy, very strong revenue growth.”

 The sales tax, which is the state’s largest revenue producer, was up 4.8 percent in February compared with a year ago, but about $2.6 million below projections, Murray said.

 “That’s a bit of a shortfall for the sales tax, relative to what we would like to see, but overall sales tax collections have remained strong and produced the lion’s share of the state’s revenues,” Murray said.

 February tax collections derive from January’s economic activity. Total revenues for the state in February were $439.4 million and for the fiscal year, $3,628.1 million, Murray said.

 Contact: Dr. Matt Murray (423-974-5441)