CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state is surging toward a $1 billion revenue collection surplus this fiscal year.
The Justice administration reported Tuesday the state set a one-month collection surplus record in April by exceeding estimates by $253 million, a one-month collection record.
Gov. Jim Justice said it wasn’t long ago when $253 million would have been considered a great surplus for an entire budget year.
“Can you imagine what a celebration we would have had five years ago, seven years ago? We would have absolutely gone crazy,” Justice said during Tuesday’s media briefing on the coronavirus.
After 10 months of the fiscal year, the state has collected $993 million more than it originally projected.
“In essence, what we have really done is that we’ve built, potentially, a Rainy Day (Fund) II,” Justice said.
Revenue collections were up across the board for April, some setting new records. State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy hinted of the strong month to state lawmakers last week.
Personal income tax collections set a record for the month at $448.5 million, which is 86.1% above last year’s mark. The state did give residents additional time to pay their taxes last year. The deadline was not April 15, 2021 but instead May 17, 2021.
Severance tax collections totaled $54.8 million. Collections were $29.1 million above estimate and 88.4% ahead of last year. Severance tax collections in April 2021 were $14 million above the monthly estimate.
Other taxes like corporate next income, consumer sales and insurance premium all topped estimates.
Justice urged state residents Tuesday to be proud with how far the state has come financially in recent years and to shun criticism.
“If they want to absolutely continue to be sticks in the mud and absolutely try to pull us back down–don’t pay attention, move forward,” Justice said.
Justice compared what he believes his administration has done with the administration of former President Ronald Reagan after Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
“I hope in a lot of ways that I’ve done the same thing for the people of West Virginia. We really and truly feel better today and there’s real power in feeling good and being proud of our accomplishments and what we’re doing,” Justice said.
There are two months of collections remaining in the fiscal year.