The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

May 3, 2014

State tax revenues still behind estimates

Natural gas, not coal, driving factor behind leap in severance tax

BECKLEY — With no evidence yet of the benefits of a statewide hiring freeze and mid-year budget cuts, West Virginia’s tax revenues are behind estimates by more than $40 million, with shortfalls in income tax and sales tax collections for April.

Even April’s beer and tobacco tax revenues were down by 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss said Friday the state is “on track” in spite of the fairly dismal year-to-date numbers. Collections for the fiscal year are below estimates in all tax categories from business and occupation to transfer taxes, with the exception of property tax, insurance tax and severance tax.

Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow said natural gas, not coal, is the driving factor behind the severance tax leap, which increased $14.9 million over estimates.

The State Road Fund’s numbers were up, except for the motor fuel tax, which was only slightly below estimates for April. With collections at $31 million above estimates, Muchow pointed to vehicles that use more gasoline on the road for the increase.

Muchow said unemployment is gradually getting better in the state, at an average of 6.1 percent.

Wetzel County has the highest unemployment in the state at 12.7 percent, while neighboring Monongalia County’s unemployment numbers are the lowest at 4.1 percent.

Unemployment figures play into the amount of withholding tax funneled into state coffers, as well as sales tax figures, which were down in April by nearly $11 million.

According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, West Virginia’s population stayed the same, while its real personal income for December 2013 fell 0.1 percent from December 2012.

 Kiss said the state would be in worse shape if not for the foresight of legislators 20 years ago who decided to create the Rainy Day Fund. Leaders tapped the fund for a budget shortfall for the first time this year. Kiss said that kind of planning was “critically important,” and the state’s conservative management and planning practices should continue.

The state’s overall economy is expected to rebound in the 2016 fiscal year, as natural gas production from  drilling in Marcellus shale increases, and a proposed “cracker” plant to process that gas is built in Wood County.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads