CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia revenue collections missed the March estimate by $14 million according to state Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss.

The distance between what the state brings in and what it thought it would has been growing since the budget year began last July.

“The shortfall as we sit here today with one-quarter left in the year is $78 million,” Kiss said.

But the revenue secretary said the “medicine” the Tomblin administration applied to the shortfall in December—mid-year budget cuts and a state hiring freeze—appears to be working. Kiss projected those measures will save about $30 million and budgetary actions by state lawmakers will infuse another $70 million into the general revenue fund.

“Those appear to be pretty much on-target to deal with the shortfall we anticipate,” said Kiss. He noted the state is paying out tax refunds on time and won’t have to borrow money to complete those payments.

March revenue collections showed a second straight month where personal income tax revenues have exceeded estimates but sales tax revenues lagged behind.

And there could be one final fiscal year surprise that negatively impacts revenues: The state is unsure how many taxpayers have taken advantage of the credit for purchasing flex fuel vehicles. Most of those tax returns are more complicated and usually aren’t filed until April 15.

“If that number is far larger than what we thought, that obviously could affect, to a greater degree, the April numbers,” Kiss said. “It’s the last year of entirely new unclaimed flex fuel numbers. That’s what we’re waiting to see.”

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  • J.Rod

    Get the food tax back on it was tried before and the state went broke.Gaston Caperton had to take action.

  • Frank/Moundsville

    How do you spell "tax increase"? My bet is on state sales tax, just watch.

    • The bookman

      Hope so, 2%!

  • thomas lemmon

    and u dont pay the auditors enough to even get new ppl to apply to bring in the taxes...this is the stupidest thing ive ever seen in gov...except the politicians themselves....auditors make 33-34k a ppl wont even apply for this job...and u say u cant get revenue to come in...teachers got pay raises...county workers got a raise...the ppl that bring in the cash...nothing...ok 500 a yr this year...this just move ppl up on the tax bracket a all+ goes away and u complain about revenues being down....gods u ppl are slow...and the public hasent a clue cept what u say to the news....give me a break...

    • Dandy Dave

      . . . . Evidently, I need to go back to school to learn this new "english" language. Serious question here. How do you even have a job with grammar such as yours? The word is "You", not "U". Capital letters are missing. "Dont" is actually spelled "Don't". I think you tried spelling the word "people", but spelled it ppl??? The word "hasent" is spelled "hasn't" and the other word in that sentence is "except", not cept. The dumbing down of America continues.

      Kids these days! Now I feel better.

  • Perplexed

    Why did the legislature cut all of the taxes last year if was going to force us to dip into our rainy day funds? That seems like a very irresponsible thing to do unless of course they did not adequately model the impact it would actually have on the budget. This would also be a very irresponsible thing to do. Who was in charge of the house and senate finance committees?

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Perplexed, irresponsibility and politics go hand in hand. Being a "tax-cutter" makes for a good soundbite for those who want their political education and opinions handed to them in thirty-seconds. That is what state and local hacks count upon.

      Cutting taxes without study aforethought was the latest fashionable economic cure-all for all our ills at the time the food tax was ended. It's called "Trickle-On Economics": it amounted to a trickle gained for the consumer but a boatload lost for state coffers.

      The latest tax-cutting chickens have come home to roost. Cover your head, my fellow West Virginians. The fallout has begun, with much more to come.

      Hope you have already filed your taxes. Your refund could be a while.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Aaaar, lads........the ship be a sinkin'.

  • CaptainQ

    To misquote George Bush Sr:


    Watch out in 2015, the Legislature will be working hard to raise taxes and even invent new ones if they have to. It's back to the old time "spend more, waste more" policies of Democratic Party leaders past.

    • Ronin

      Funny how you quote the truth about George, Sr., but then bash Democrats for waste, as if there was a true difference in political parties.

  • Dan the Man

    Why did they get rid of the food tax if they saw a financial shortfall was coming????

    • Aaron

      A better question might be, if they saw revenue shortfalls as a result of eliminating the food tax, why did they not cut spending proportionately?

      The short answer is voter pandering. How many politicians ran on cutting taxes?

  • Woodchuck0

    More of the joke call West Virginia.

    Revenue down, tax the working poor more.

    Spend more, waste more, more, more, more.

  • Low Rider

    I have an idea! Let's raise the minimum wage. Higher wages mean more tax revenue!

    • Jason

      Higher minimum wages ALSO mean more stress on businesses to cover payroll (especially small mom & pop shops), therefore causing them to increase the sell price of their products (increased cost to you, the consumer, which translates into less volume being sold) or move to a more tax friendly state, or just flat out shut down. With all 3 of those options leading to less tax revenue to the state and possibly less jobs. Everything isn't always as simple as our fearless leaders make it out to be.

      • josh

        How many small mom and pop shops are left? Let me guess you are for low wages and cutting social benefits? Continue to pay low wages and you will continue to have million on social benefits. You can't have it both ways!!!!

        • Ronin

          Here where I live, 95% of the shops are small local businesses, as they are in quite a bit of rural WV. I know it's probably hard to believe, but Charles Town, Martinsburg and Charleston are NOT the entirety of West Virginia. Higher minimum wage = higher prices, fewer raises, fewer employees to do the same jobs with older tools and no margin for error.

        • jason

          Let me guess, you are for big government providing "jobs and opportunities" for people. Read current events in France, see how that is working out for them. The real answer comes down to education and fostering a business friendly environment that CREATES jobs. The problem with WV is, all the dollars stay in state and just circle around, basically the best job opportunity most people can get in most towns is working at a restaurant, so you have a population of people working at restaurants to make money to go spend at restaurants. There is nothing attracting any out of state dollars except the coal industry, and we see the direction the coal industry is moving...that along with the majority of the college educated population moving out of state after graduation to seek some type of opportunity elsewhere year after year a nutshell, the problem. No silver bullet answer, but obviously what is currently happening, is not working...try something different. Probably the border states opening casinos is not helping either, that was really the a cash cow for bringing in out of state dollars, but that ship has sailed.

  • Ronin

    I notice that Colorado hasn't had to freeze hiring or cut important infrastructure improvements, teacher salaries, or any other state functions.

    Just sayin'...

    • Jason

      That is a fact you can take to the bank. It is only a matter of time. Once the other states see the almighty dollar rolling in the door for CO and WA, the dominoes will fall quickly. CO and WA are the guinea pigs right now, once they figure out a tax infrastructure and system for that product to be produced, controlled, and taxed by the state, it is a no-brainer.

      • josh

        This tax base will be diluted once more states come online. Early adopters go the spoils!!!!

        • The bookman

          That assumption is based on a migration of demand to the product, or MJ users moving to CO and WA. Not happening. The demand remains in the locations where it is still illegal, and with the exception of border states contributing to demand, I think you'll find demand to stay stable as "the dominoes fall."

          • jason

            agreed...exactly like tobacco and alcohol products.