CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Severance tax revenue estimates from coal and natural gas are down by nearly 50% for July and August, and if that continues West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is considering possible state budget cuts across the board by nearly 5%.
“And our target number was a 4.6& budget reduction, which would translate into about $200 million. However, I have good news. The month of September we’ve done much better. So far right now, 18 days in, we’re ahead of projections for the month of September,” said Secretary David Hardy, West Virginia Dept. of Revenue.
The revenue secretary says he’ll know in about six weeks if money is coming in fast enough to avoid the budget cuts. Democrats in the Legislature are not happy:
“I think the Governor has seen things at his office and at the Greenbrier and looked at things like everything was rosy. But now we’re seeing on the ground and in my district that things aren’t as great as he thinks they are,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D-Kanawha).
But Republican leaders say they are prepared to deal with any possible financial problems, including cuts.
“In the event, as any fiscally responsible person would do, we’ll have contingency plans in place should the economy have any downturn at all,” said State Senate President Mitch Carmichael, (R-Jackson).
in 2015 and 2016 16, the state faced similar 4% budget cuts.
Most of the Legislature will be in Charleston on Monday, September 18, 2019, for the monthly interim committee meetings. These budget concerns will be the focus of the Joint Committee on Government Finance.