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Florida economists project continued growth, increase in state money

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Forecasts show that Florida's economy is continuing to grow.

State economists met Friday to draw up new forecasts to predict how much the state will collect in taxes.

The forecasts will be used to draw a three-year financial outlook for the state. Legislators will also use them when drawing up a new budget.

Economists estimate the state's main budget account to grow around 2.6 percent during the fiscal year that ends next June. But they are predicting growth of 4.7 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The forecasts mean that legislators will have roughly $2.2 billion extra in state money for next year. Gov. Rick Scott will likely push to use some of the money for tax cuts.

But Medicaid expenses are rising and the state is expected to lose additional federal aid next year. Those expenses could shrink the size of any surplus.

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