Tennessee's general fund revenue collections beat expectations by more than $12 million in May, topping $400 million for the budget year so far.
Sales tax collections, which make up about two out of three state tax dollars, exceeded estimates by more than $17 million.
The general fund had a surplus of more than $412 million through the first 10 months of the budget year. About half of that total was incorporated into the state's annual spending plan, but the State Funding Board did not meet to recognize the remainder of the better-than-expected revenues.
Minority Democrats argued that the money could have been used to increase a cut in the state's sales tax on groceries or to hold tuition hikes in check. Republicans decided to hold the extra money in reserve.