CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†State tax collections missed estimates by $28.2 million in January but the Justice administration remains confident collections will catch-up by the end of the fiscal year.

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State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy

The state collected $393.1 million last month. State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said during a Wednesday conference call higher than expected corporate net income tax refunds and lower than expected severance tax collections on natural gas were the two main culprits.

“Natural gas production was very high. However, the price of natural gas was very low during the fall months,” Hardy said.

Severance Tax collections missed estimates by $9.5 million. The numbers are based on October and November natural gas production.

Despite the down month, the state has seen $98 million (4.3 percent) in revenue growth through the first seven months of the fiscal year. Hardy believes revenue will meet estimates by the time the budget year ends on June 30.

“The governor thinks the financial health of our state is good and that everything is going well but this slight downturn in a natural gas severance revenue is a reminder that we need to manage our resources carefully,” Hardy said.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said if there is a surplus in tax collections by June 30 it will be very little.

“I think the numbers are going to be very close to the estimate,” Muchow said.

Personal Income Tax collections for January beat estimates by more than $7 million while Consumer Sales Tax collections missed the number by $4.7 million.

The state had a very strong collections month in December.

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