CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There are two months remaining in the fiscal year and despite a $70 million infusion from the state legislature, the state is still lagging behind its revenue estimates by $40.9 million. State officials discussed the latest tax collection numbers Friday. 

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Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss

State Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said the revenue deficit would be well above $100 million if it weren’t for the money from the legislature and a spending cut and hiring freeze from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

“We put a plan in place, the governor did, beginning in December and we think we’re on track to close the hole,” Kiss said.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said the bright spot in April came with severance tax collections at $49.9 million which beat estimates by $14.5 million. That’s up17.5 percent from last April. Muchow attributes the increase to natural gas not coal. He said the state’s economy is transitioning.

“The shift of economic activity is going on within the state of West Virginia with the tremendous growth in certain parts of the state (natural gas) but also declines in other parts of the state that rely very heavily on coal,” Muchow said.

The revenue from the withholding tax and consumer sales tax were both down in April along with revenues from beer and tobacco taxes. The state Road Fund continues to do better than expected. It’s now more than $31 million above estimates. Muchow attributes it to the purchase of more vehicles that use more gas.

Muchow and others believe the severance tax growth will be strong for the remaining two months of the fiscal year along with continued growth in B&O tax revenues and sales tax growth. Secretary Kiss said the aforementioned moves in the current state budget will also pay off.

“There are savings we’ll see at the end of the year in the cost reductions and hiring freeze that will offset a large part of that $40.9 million (the current revenue shortfall),” Kiss said.

Kiss, the former House of Delegates speaker, said he was thankful for the legislature’s history of being fiscally conservative. He said without those funds the current situation would be worse .

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Comments

  • David Kennedy

    I've watched the West Virginia economy tank several times in my lifetime.
    While I think the state has good managers, they will never make the cuts needed to downsize government.
    When the misery gets to a certain point this time, I'm moving to Florida.
    My family came here from Ireland in 1788...moving away was painful then, I'm sure...but a quality of life must be maintained...if it will not be provided here...other places can.

  • the truth

    All this is caused by Medicaid. What is West Virginia going to do when they have to start paying a share in a year and half from this Medicaid expansion. One hundred thousand signed up and even 10% the state will have to pay will bankrupt West Virginia.

  • CaptainQ

    I think all of us taxpayers in WV know what THIS news means...

    Look for a return of the Food Tax in 2015 as well as the creation of other taxes too. Of course, no Democrat is going to SAY that until AFTER the November elections, but they are still coming soon!

    When our elected leaders can't balance their fiscal budget, its us taxpayers who are forced to pay the price, literally!

    • ShowMeTheMoney

      In the past few years going back to Manchin the state of West Virginia has cut taxes by over $400 million!!! (Look it up - check the facts). Most of those taxes went to BIG BUSINESS. Now the state doesn't have enough money.

      • GF

        You don't eat? That cut in the sales tax on food all went to big business? The problem is not the amount of taxes being collected, it's the amount of money being spent....

        • Jephre

          +1
          The Legislature's solution to revenue shortfalls is never to cut spending, it's always to increase revenue.

      • stophating

        +1

        • stophating

          Add state cuts on top of federal cuts, and suddenly you will understand what is wrong...... All budgets are being balanced on the backs of (lower) middle class in WV!

          • stophating

            BTW---

            @Aaron and @The Bookman--- this is the first time I haven't been active for 10+ hours at one of my jobs in 5 weeks..... Just thought I would let you know.... Hoping that huge $1000 raise let's me have two nights off a week in September....

  • new opportunities

    Isn't WV one of the handful of states that were permitted to grow hemp or in some form? If so our state needs to get on that and start making $$$.

  • timbo g

    Let's see; a $70 million cash infusion and still a $41 million shortfall. BUT, revenues "look" to be up in the last 2 months of the fiscal year. Sounds a little bit like shake and bake served by Earl & Bob.