NEW YORK, NY, — A financial rating agency is giving West Virginia high marks for the way it finished the fiscal year.

Moody’s U.S. Public Finance called revenue collections a “credit positive” in its Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance released Friday.

Moody’s noted the state collected $4.8 billion in general revenue in the recently completed fiscal year, a 12 percent increase over the prior budget year and the most ever collected.

“The increase is credit positive for the state, which will allocate 6.4% more funds towards public schools following the passage of an omnibus education bill during a recent special legislative session. On June 28, the governor signed an omnibus education reform bill that was passed during a special legislative session dedicated to K-12 education,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s report went on to detail the reform law.

“The education bill allocates $130 million, or 6.4%, of additional money to public schools and raises teacher pay by 5% on average. The pay increases will help with teacher recruitment and retention, important goals for West Virginia, which is striving to improve the quality of K-12 education in the state,” the report said.

Moody’s said although 800 mining and logging jobs were added in West Virginia last budget year, ” a weaker coal industry will remain a challenge for the state.”

“Revelation Energy LLC, a West Virginia-based coal company, and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy recently, the second for a major coal company in a two-week period. On the other hand, the state’s natural gas sector is growing, offsetting declines in the coal industry,” according to Moody’s report.

Moody’s points out that a declaration of “credit positive” does not represent a new bond rating or outlook change but instead “is indicative of the impact of a distinct event or development as one of many credit factors affecting the issuer.”

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