CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time this fiscal year the state collected more tax revenue than it thought it would. The $251.8 million was nearly $10.3 million above estimate, state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy told reporters in a conference call Monday.
Even with the good month, the state finds itself at approximately $106 million below estimate eight months into the fiscal year.
According to state Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow, all of the main taxes performed well last month.
“Sales tax exceeded estimate by $3.5 million. Personal income tax was over estimate by close to $3.9 million. B&O Tax exceeded estimate by $1 million and severance tax was over estimate by $2.6 million,” Muchow said.
February is usually a down month for collections because of the winter and the disbursement of state income tax refunds so the estimates for the month are usually set lower than normal.
The Justice administration still believes it needs to fill a $123 million hole in the current year budget. The governor announced a plan last week to sweep revenue accounts something which he’ll likely get agreement from state lawmakers. The plan could keep the state from using the Rainy Day Fund to fill the hole, which was Justice’s initial proposal. Hardy said the additional money from the sweeping is there once.
“You can avoid going to the Rainy Day Fund one time, this time, between now and June 30. Going forward you have to put structural fixes in place,” Hardy said.
The Rainy Day Fund has a current balance of $693.4 million. It needs to keep a balance of at least $641 million to stay at 15 percent of the general revenue budget, which is a key indicator for credit rating agencies on Wall Street.