(The Center Square) – West Virginia closed out the first month of the new fiscal year with a $92.4 million revenue surplus, Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday.
July’s 2022 revenue collections were slightly more than $381 million, which was more than $92 million above estimates. The past month’s revenue was also nearly one-quarter higher than the same month in 2021. These numbers continue a trend from last year, in which the state ended the fiscal year with a $1.3 billion surplus.
“I know it sounds like a broken record at this point, but now that we have this state’s economic engine going in the right direction, we have a lot of good news to report,” the governor said in a statement. “What we did this last year was unbelievable – beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. But we’re not slowing down. We’re going to keep the ball rolling this year.”
West Virginia collected more than $161 million in personal income tax in July, which was nearly $14.3 million higher than state estimates and nearly 14% higher than the previous year. The consumer sales tax collections totaled more than $96 million, which was more than $10 million above estimates and 7.2% higher than the previous year.
The state had a surplus in smaller revenue sources too. The severance tax collections were more than $54.6 million, which exceeded estimates by more than $51 million. Last year, the severance tax totaled only $3.4 million. The corporate net income tax collections were around $14.4 million, which was about $10.4 million above estimates and nearly one-third higher than last year. The state also collected nearly $7.5 million in insurance premium taxes.
“I told you when I walked in the door as Governor that I was going to take you on a rocket ship ride,” Justice said. “You’re on it right now, and we’re not going to slow down until we flip every rock to help every person we can possibly help.”
After closing the year out with a massive surplus, the governor sought to return some of that money back to the taxpayers by passing a retroactive income tax reduction that would have applied to the last fiscal year and to every year in the future. The plan would have cut income taxes by 10% overall.
During a special session, the House of Delegates passed the governor’s bill without any changes, but Senate lawmakers refused to bring it out of committee. Rather, Senate lawmakers expressed their intent to reduce the personal property tax burden if voters approve a constitutional amendment in November that would grant them the authority to do so.
Although House lawmakers had hoped to pass an income tax reduction, they also expressed their support for lowering the personal property tax burden.