CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Budget Director Mike McKown apologized to a group of state lawmakers for possibly ruining their sunny Monday afternoon with news about the state budget.
McKown was asked to speak with a legislative interim committee considering funding for higher education. He told committee members when state lawmakers begin working on the 2015 state budget next year they are going to find it a difficult task.
McKown said there’s a $265 million hole that has to be made up with either increased revenue or budget cuts and the revenue currently doesn’t look good.
“We’re currently down 3.4 percent (in tax collections) if we’re down 3.4 percent for the whole year that’s over 100-million dollars.”
McKown said the state has actually collected less revenue so far this fiscal year than it had at this time last year—and last year was a tight budget.
For the second year in a row the governor has asked state agencies to submit budget requests that include a 7.5 percent cuts in spending. McKown said they’ve exempted public education, corrections and Medicaid so the cuts will only produce about $80 million.
McKown reminded lawmakers the only way to meet the $265 million hole is to raise revenues, cut spending or a combination of the two.
“There’s no appetite to raise taxes,” McKown said. “So you have to cut budgets.”
The $265 million hole is mainly caused by Medicaid, which the state has met with one-time monies in recent years. Those monies are gone.