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Virginia's revenues lag expectations in first half of fiscal year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virginia's revenues are growing more slowly than expected, rising only 0.7 percent in the first half of the fiscal year, the state's finance secretary reported on Friday.

For fiscal 2014, which started on July 1, Virginia has forecast 1.7 percent growth, Secretary Ric Brown said in a monthly revenue letter.

In December, total revenue collections rose 0.8 percent from the same month in 2012 on strong individual income taxes, which increased 3.2 percent.

"Because a number of factors can influence the flow of payments and monthly growth rates this time of year, December and January receipts must be considered together to get a clear picture of revenue growth," Brown cautioned.

Sales and use taxes fell 4.3 percent in December and 2.9 percent for the first half of the year. December sales taxes are based on November purchases.

Meanwhile, corporate income tax collections were down 22.7 percent in December, a key month when most corporations make their quarterly estimated payments.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Leslie Adler)