TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida economists are drawing up forecasts for how much money the state is expected to collect in taxes over the next few years.

The economists meeting Friday will use the estimates for a three-year financial outlook that must be approved by a legislative panel in September.

Last March, economists concluded that growth in state tax collections would grow at a rate of 4.5 percent between July 2013 and June 2014.

Since that time, monthly collections have been on target.

If the forecast holds, Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature could have a budget surplus heading into the 2014 election year.

The state's main tax is the 6-percent sales tax. Collections of the tax dropped at the height of the Great Recession but have been recovering since then.