Half-billion dollar revenue increase in West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. — (WOWK) A lot of West Virginia’s sudden cash flow is due to the rebound of fossil fuels, especially coal. But that’s not all. Personal income taxes are up 13 percent. Corporate net income tax collections were way up by 80 percent. And, coal and natural gas severance taxes rose by 31-percent.

The surplus is in sharp contrast to budget deficits in the hundreds of millions just three years ago.

“You know we got our coal miners back to work, a lot of them, that’s great. And you know we’ve got gas operations that are going on. It’s great,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

Democrats, however, say West Virginia is still too reliant on coal and natural gas. They are calling for a more diversified state economy.

“Obviously the State of West Virginia is on an upswing when it comes to tax income. However we have to look towards diversification. We have to be careful with our spending and be a little more conservative knowing that times aren’t always going to be great,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.

The governor says that’s already happening – pointing to the increasing numbers from non-natural resource areas.

“We’ve got tourism booming and we’ve got high-tech coming back and we’ve got manufacturing happening,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

“The bottom line – West Virginia’s economy certainly has improved over the past three years, when we were looking at half-billion dollar budget deficits. But most everyone still cautions that we’re still too dependent on the energy sector, a marketplace that can have wild fluctuations and us and downs,” Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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