CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chief of staff for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration says mid-year budget reductions or budget freezes are ”likely” if the state’s revenue collections continue to come in below projections.

“Being fiscally responsible and not raising taxes, there’s one major way to go and that is to limit expenditures and adjust appropriations so that they match the actual revenues received,” said Charles Lorensen of the possibility.

Lorensen, a former secretary of the state Department of Revenue, talked about the budget numbers on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“We’re probably about four percent below what we projected and, if we can ascertain that’s a trend or if that’s something that’s going to stick for the remainder of the year and can’t be made up, then we’re faced with dealing with it,” he said.

Since the start of the new budget year in July, state revenue officials said the state has collected $57 million less, from taxes, than expected.  Much of that shortfall was attributed to declines in personal income tax collections.

Overall, budget analysts have said declines in severance tax and personal income tax collections, rising Medicaid costs and ballooning tax credits, like those previously given for flex fuel vehicle purchases, are all contributing to the long-term budget shortfalls that, they said, will continue.

State agencies have already been asked to submit budget proposals for the 2014-2015 fiscal year that include 7.5 percent reductions from the current year’s spending and Lorensen said those cuts will most likely be implemented beginning in July.

“We’re fiscally responsible and we’ll have a balanced budget,” he said.

Public education, corrections, Medicaid and others have been exempted from the cuts in the coming year.

Lawmakers will be working on the new budget during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session which will open at the State Capitol on Jan. 8.

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  • George

    How about raising the property tax on land that some of these big companies own that just sits there like all of the land Pocahontas Land Company owns? When was the last time there land was reassessed?

  • Woodchuck

    Take from us working people and give to those who don't want to work.

  • Undertheradar

    Talk out of one side of the mouth, while hiring friends & creating more & more positions in state government, especially DHHR! DHHR is full of waste. The Division of Personnel (DOP) creates policy that requires an employee to supervise at least 3 or more other employees before such employee can be reclassified to a higher pay grade. So, what does one do to comply with this little policy? They create more positions and build empires, within the organization, to justify their position and their friends/allies positions and this process just keeps repeating itself over & over & over. And in today’s digital age, the state doesn’t need to pay all the rent to landlords (friends) to house tens of thousands of workers to sit in a cubicle to perform their jobs. Managers in DHHR continue the old school mentality of requiring employees to be physically present in order to carry out their job tasks. Move into the digital age! The Legislature continues to ignore such practices & reinforces this behavior by doing nothing! And the waste of tax dollars continues.

  • calvin stackpole

    Is the state not raking in millions from the shale boom that is going on right now? I guess i don't understand how our government operates.

    • Undertheradar

      Corporations don't pay taxes, they get tax breaks while the tax burden is shifted to the working poor to pay for more benefits for those who chose not to work.

  • Myron

    I am glad to see public education is exempted, and that significant teacher raises are a possibility. Time to treat us as the overworked professionals we are.

    • jm

      Moron, oh I mean Myron,

      It appears you must be a teacher. First off, I do not take that you have a difficult job. That most of you do work quite hard. But, you have had a raise each year for the last several. Albeit only a small percentage each year.

      What about the rest of the State employee's that have gotten nothing in almost 8 years. Nothing at all.........not even the 2% each year you have all gotten. Not to mention that you get days off when snow closes the school. Why not be dedicated like teachers were 25-30 years ago. Those teachers reported to school. They were available for parents to call or come in, to discuss their kids.

  • greg bail

    you can only reduce ones budget so much-there has to be other changes to curb spending