Things appear to be looking up again for the Mountain State.
That’s because the April revenue figures West Virginia lawmakers want to see before they craft a new state budget show tax collections in better shape than expected, Manchin administration officials said.
Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said the month’s general tax revenues should exceed estimates by $15 million to $20 million. That would put state government back on track to end the current budget year June 30 balanced or with a minor surplus, according to The Associated Press.
A key month for annual tax collections, April’s numbers suggest the Legislature won’t have to cut spending in the next budget beyond the $200 million Gov. Joe Manchin has already announced, Muchow said.
“We needed to be on target for this year to reaffirm our estimate for next year,” he said. “The $200 million adjustment will probably hold.”
That’s certainly good news.
But Muchow also does not expect much of a revenue surplus, if any, to help lawmakers close that hole. Half of any excess general revenue must go to the state’s emergency reserve fund.
Both Manchin and legislative leaders decided to hold off on completing the new budget after general revenue missed projections by a combined $92 million in January and February. Lottery revenues are also down. The budget Manchin proposed to lawmakers when their regular session began relied on $4.4 billion from those two sources.
The House and Senate finished that 60-day session on April 11, and plan to complete a new state budget between May 26 and June 6. Muchow said the delay should also give lawmakers a better sense of the rules governing the influx of federal stimulus funds.
“They’re still being developed, but the picture has become clearer,” Muchow said.
A chunk of West Virginia’s estimated $1.8 billion share is meant to help stabilize the budget, though both the governor and lawmakers have sworn off tapping these temporary funds for anything but one-time expenditures.
Things appear to be looking up again for the Mountain State.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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- Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely