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.”