W. Va. is Enduring a Budget Crisis Like that of the Great Depression
In a conference call with the press on Friday, Department of Revenue Cabinet Secretary Dave Hardy said West Virginia revenue collections for the month of January came in about $18M short of state estimates.
In other words, he said the state essentially took about an 8 percent pay cut.
"Most of it is caused by the drop in energy prices. But we also had a downturn in some of our other industries," he explained.
The consumer sales tax was the largest source of the drop in revenue, followed by the personal income tax.
7 out of 12 months into the fiscal year, the state is $116 million short of revenue estimates. But Hardy predicts that will grow to as much as $123 million before the end of the fiscal year in July.
Hardy says will lawmakers return to Charleston for their annual legislative session next week, they'll have to quickly find money to fill this year's budget gap before they can move on to balancing the 2018 budget.
That budget could have a revenue gap as large as $600 million.