Rhonda Verrier takes a picture of the volunteers who have...

Rhonda Verrier takes a picture of the volunteers who have been helping rebuild the lower level of the Lindenhurst home she her husband have shared for 36 years. Long Islanders, especially those rebuilding from the devastation of superstorm Sandy, helped boost sales tax collections during January in Nassau and Suffolk counties. (Jan. 18, 2013) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Long Islanders resumed spending in force last month after a sluggish holiday shopping season marred by superstorm Sandy, the Connecticut school shooting and the "fiscal cliff" debate in Washington.

Sales tax collections soared year over year in January. They were up 9 percent in Nassau County and 5 percent in Suffolk County, the state Taxation and Finance Department said Wednesday.

January's gains followed year-over-year drops in December.

Those declines, economists said, reflected the Island's slow recovery from Sandy, which hit on Oct. 29.

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