CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state has closed the books on the 2019 fiscal year and the budget ends with a $36.8 million surplus, according to information released Thursday by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.
“We’ve worked really hard, lifting West Virginia’s economy out of 50th and turning it into one of the fastest-growing economies in the country,” Justice said in a news release. “This past year, we brought in hundreds of millions of dollars more than we ever dreamed of and I’m so proud that we’re using it to secure a better future for our people and our great state.”
State law requires half of surplus amount, $18.4 million, to be placed in the state’s Rainy Day fund. The other half is being placed in the state’s Medicaid program, according to Justice.
When the taking the original estimates for the 2019 fiscal year budget, the state actually brought in $511 million above projections. Justice decided to adjust the estimates four times during the last six months of the fiscal year. The money was allocated to other areas, a lot of it to repair the secondary road system.
The Thursday news release from the governor’s office also said the half-billion dollar revenue growth was more than one-and-a-half times the combined revenue growth the state had from 2007-2017.
“When I came in the door we were dead flat bankrupt. We were 50th in every category imaginable and we had a budget crisis every single year,” Justice said. “Now, my plan to bring our economy back to life is working, with the help of our state Senate, House, and many others.”
The state fell short of revenue estimates in July, the first month of the new fiscal year. It missed the mark by $32.9 million.