PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sales at Maine's fireworks stores have far exceeded initial projections when fireworks became legal last year for the first time in 63 years.

When legislators debated a bill in 2011 to legalize fireworks, the Maine Revenue Services estimated that fireworks stores would generate about $120,000 a year in sales taxes.

In reality, the state collected $380,000 in sales taxes for the latest 12-month period ending May 31.

With a sales tax of 5 percent, that means fireworks stores had $7.6 million in sales in the past year.

Maine Revenue Services spokesman David Heidrich says the original projections were somewhat conservative since fireworks were new. But he says the figures are still impressive and have far exceeded expectations.

Maine now has 18 fireworks stores, up from a dozen last Fourth of July.

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