Federal cuts blamed for modest TN retail activity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes says federal spending cuts and tax hikes are to blame for a dip in consumer confidence in Tennessee.

Emkes in a release Friday said March sales tax collections, which reflect spending activity in the previous month, came in $2.8 million below estimates. That's a growth rate of just 0.1 percent, well below the 1.8 percent growth rate posted through the first eight months of the budget year.

Emkes said the 2 percent hike in the federal payroll tax in January and budget cuts have caused "temporary erosion in consumer confidence." Nearly two-thirds of the state's general fund revenue is derived from sales tax dollars.

The general fund was bolstered by strong corporate taxes, as franchise and excise tax collections beat projections by $35 million.


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