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State government $20 million ahead for November collections

West Virginia’s general revenue collections for November came in $20.1 million above estimates and 6.1 percent ahead of last year, Gov. Jim Justice announced today.

That’s despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy.

West Virginia has now recorded surpluses in each of the first five months of this fiscal year, the governor pointed out in a news release. Justice reported that year-to-date general revenue collections are $131.7 million above estimates and 9.1 percent above prior year receipts.

That’s in part because the tax day deadline was moved from April to July because of the pandemic. That gave us an unexpected $192.5 million head start for the new fiscal year.

But the state’s finances have held up, so far, despite the expiration of some federal relief programs — including expanded unemployment benefits — and inaction by Congress on any additional relief package.

Justice described the revenue reports in terms of economic momentum.

Gov. Jim Justice

“All West Virginians should be incredibly proud of what we’re accomplishing, especially when you think about everything else that’s going on in this nation right now,” Justice stated.

“The pandemic, no question, has been a punch to the stomach. But we kept our economy moving and we’ve stayed on this great roll we’ve been on.”

Total General Revenue Fund collections for November were $342.5 million. Year-to-date collections have totaled $1.937 billion; nearly $162 million above prior year receipts.

“When it boils right down to it, putting together five straight months of growth in any year is pretty dadgum tough,” Gov. Justice continued. “But to do it this year is especially incredible.”

More specifics:

  • Consumer sales tax collections rose by 7.5 percent in November, as monthly collections of $133.6 million were $6.6 million above estimate. Cumulative collections of $591.6 million were $25.7 million above estimate and 6.5% above prior year receipts.
  • Personal income tax collections totaled $149.8 million in November. Collections were $14.8 million above the monthly estimate. Cumulative personal income tax collections were $45.7 million above estimate and 15.7 percent ahead of last year. The November revenue gains were largely attributable to a 10.4 percent rise in monthly wage and salary withholding tax collections in comparison with the prior year.
  • November severance tax collections totaled $21.0 million and cumulative collections totaled $54.2 million. Collections for the year-to-date were $6.9 million above estimate.
  • Corporation net income tax collections totaled $2.1 million in October. Collections were $1.6 million above estimate. Cumulative collections totaled $118.6 million as compared with $67.1 million in the prior year. Year-to-date receipts were $50.6 million above estimate.
  • November collections included $2.0 million from abandoned and unclaimed property receipts.

“As we watch over the state’s finances, we try not to get too high or too low. But we continue to be incredibly impressed and pleased with the numbers we’re seeing so far this year,” West Virginia Department of Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy stated.

A separate but related monthly report by the state Senate Finance Committee also showed the state coming in more than $20 million ahead of projections for the month.

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