CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Because of a sharp drop in the severance taxes from coal and natural gas sales, the governor’s office is making cuts. Secretary of Revenue Dave Hardy says 100 million dollars will be cut from the remainder of this fiscal year, with possible cuts of nearly five percent across the board in next year’s budget. Democrats are not happy.
“This governor promised us a ride on a rocket ship, but what he actually sold us were tickets on the Titanic and now he expects us to rearrange the deck chairs,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
We are told much of the cost savings will be in not filling vacant state jobs, and that cuts to public services will be spared for now. After two years of economic growth, Republican leaders in the legislature say it’s part of the state’s volatile energy economy.
“No panic yet, no not at all. The revenue estimates were down the first couple of months, or, the revenue collections. But they were up last months and we anticipate moving forward that they’ll level out and we’ll be fine,” said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President.
People on both sides of the aisle say diversifying the Mountain State economy is the long term answer.
“Mid-year budget cuts are nothing to new to West Virginia. We saw deep spending rollbacks in 2015 and 2016, but with 2020 being an election year there could be economic as well as political consequences,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.