Some good economic news. Florida businesses set a sales record for January. Statewide sales rose 12 percent from a year ago to more than 71 billion dollars. the increase means more money for the state budget, but not necessarily more money for programs cut during the recent legislatives session.
Florida businesses are selling more than they were a year ago. In January businesses statewide sold 71 billion dollars worth of goods and services, up from 63 billion a year ago. It’s a 12 percent increase.
John Fleming of the Florida Retail Federation says consumer confidence is rising. “We are coming out of the recession. We are back on a normal pattern of growth and I think you can expect sales to continue to increase.”
Rob Weissert of Florida TaxWatch told us, “The increase means Florida’s budget picture is improving.”
“Florida’s budget is based on a consumption tax, so the higher the sales, the higher the sales tax.”
Weissert, who is Vice President of Research at Florida TaxWatch, says the increase is good news, but it won’t be noticed in the spending plan just passed by lawmakers. “That budget really won’t be affected directly, but again as we have higher revenues we can have higher reserves which is a positive place for the state to be in fiscally.”
And even though it won’t be seen in the state budget, the increase in sales and tax collection could keep lawmakers from coming back in a special session because of a shortfall.”
Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll attended a ground breaking for a new charter school Tuesday. Afterward she told me the extra money doesn’t mean cuts will be restored. “Just because you have extra revenue doesn’t mean you increase your spending.”