CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†Severance tax receipts through the first quarter of the fiscal year are 47 percent above where they were a year ago, state revenue officials said Wednesday.

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State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy

The climb is contributed to recent increases in natural gas prices and the steady increase in production of coal, state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said.

“It’s projecting that those numbers will continue to do well into the next quarter,” Hardy said.

Severance tax collections in September were 19 percent above the collections from September 2016.

Natural gas prices continue to be a variable, state Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said.

“No secret about it, we continue to have a problem in the Appalachian region of getting product to market,” he said. “The winter and colder temperatures will help with the demand and supply ratios.”

Muchow said he’s also concerned with payroll employment levels that haven’t seen a lot of growth until just recently.

“We are starting to see a little bit of an increase because that have will have an impact on the income tax and the sales tax (collections),” he said.

Overall revenue collections through the first quarter of the fiscal year are at $949 million which is behind estimate by just $7.8 million. September collections beat estimates by $11.5 million, Hardy said.

“We’re right on target,” he said. “I still would keep by fingers crossed at this point.”

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