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NASHVILLE - Tennessee government's shortfall grew another $83.7 million in December as November holiday spending plunged and state sales tax collections made history by plummeting 10.28 percent below previous year collections.

The drops caused the state's overall revenue budget deficit to widen to $407.8 million. The general fund, which provides funding for most areas of state government, including K-12 education, is now $379.4 million below estimates.

"December is the fifth consecutive month this fiscal year in which sales taxes and corporate income taxes have recorded negative growth rates," Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said in a statement. "December also made history - with the largest single negative growth month for sales tax collections on record."

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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