The director of the Legislative Services Agency says state tax revenues have picked up, and it may be time to celebrate an economic recovery. Dennis Prouty says if the economy continues to grow — as it has the last four months — “then it is time for champagne.” Prouty and other state financial officials met today to set their estimate of state tax collections. The group increased its prediction of state tax revenues for the 2005 state fiscal year that begins July 1st by 50 million dollars. Prouty says for budgeting purposes, though, lawmakers are “back to the 7-UP” because the extra money in today’s Revenue Estimating Council prediction cannot be spent because of state budgeting rules. Prouty says rising gasoline prices are one of the clouds on the economic horizon Dave Underwood, a Mason City accountant who also serves on the State Tax Revenue Estimating Conference, is concerned a downturn in the steel industry could bring a halt to the recovery.Underwood says the price of steel has skyrocketed, and shortages are cropping up. He says it’s a “scary” situation that he’s not seen in his 20 years in the business world.
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