CHARLESTON, W.Va. — What’s been a difficult budget year for the state of West Virginia will continue to the end of the fiscal year Sunday.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued an executive order Friday giving him the authority to reduce spending by $17.7 million in part of the state Medicaid budget to make up for lower-than-expected revenue collections. State law requires a balanced budget June 30.
Acting Revenue Jason Pizatella told MetroNews Friday the Medicaid account has been overfunded for several years and the cut won’t hurt Medicaid services.
“It will not have any impact whatsoever the services provided by Medicaid for children, families and doctors,” Pizatella said.
The state’s tax revenues have been below estimate for the past 12 months. A struggling coal industry and low prices for natural gas have been the key contributors. The Tomblin administration predicted earlier this year the state would end the fiscal year $73 million below estimates so the legislature cut $28 million in state spending in March and the state spent a $45 million emergency fund to take care of state income tax refunds. Pizatella said unfortunately the state is going to end the fiscal year about $90.7 million below revenue estimates so they had to come up with another $17.7 in cuts.
“This is strictly a timing and a cash flow issue here at the end of the fiscal year. There will be no differences in services whatsoever,” he said.
The Tomblin administration is hoping for better revenues in the new fiscal year that begins Monday. Pizatella said coal and natural gas should do better.
‘It’s not all bad news, we think there are brighter days ahead, but this particular day it is tough as we close the 2013 fiscal year,” Pizatella said.