Tax data indicates a slower recovery for Florida

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While stocks rallied and politicians cheered news that the national economy grew 3.5% last quarter, tax statistics released this week tell a different story. According to the Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research, statewide taxable spending has fallen 7.5 percent over the year ended in August 2009. However, some say those seemingly grim numbers actually indicate that Florida is beginning to recover, albeit at a slower pace than the rest of the country: that number was in the double digits when the recession was at its peak. Mark Vitner, a Wells Fargo economist, said the Florida economy’s rate of decline is slowing. “Florida probably is going to lag behind the nation because the forces that dragged us into the recession were greater in Florida,” Vitner said. “Florida was overbuilt to a greater extent. Florida overspent to a greater extent than the rest of the nation.”

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