By Shawn Stinson
West Virginia lawmakers will have additional money to spend in the upcoming fiscal year.
The members of the Senate Finance Committee announced on July 1 the state had finished with nearly $1.3 billion in tax revenue collected compared to estimates.
The state collected $662.4 million in revenue in June, more than $200 million above the estimate for the month. The final number for the 2021-22 fiscal year shows the state received nearly $1.318 billion in revenues above the estimate in the budget.
Dave Hardy, WV revenue secretary, predicted a strong finish to the fiscal year last month when he met with state lawmakers.
“We will be at least $1.2 billion above projection for this fiscal year,” Hardy said on June 13. “Think about that for a minute. That’s $100 million a month on average that we have been above projection for the fiscal year we’re wrapping up.”
Gov. Jim Justice and state lawmakers have approved use of $800 million of the revenue surplus in the next state budget. This will leave more than $500 million to be available for other allocations. Hardy added there will be “a lot of decision-making that will need to be done.”
Justice is expected to call a special session later this summer to address the additional revenue.
Severance tax collections spurred the revenue surplus. State officials estimated they would collect $319.7 million in severance tax in the fiscal year. The actual tax collected during the 2021-22 fiscal year was nearly $769 million – a difference of roughly $450 million.