State budget surplus for 2023 expected to exceed $1.7 billion
By Matt Young, West Virginia Press Association
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice, on Monday, announced that the state’s April General Revenue collections exceeded projections by $319 million, resulting in the largest single-month revenue surplus in West Virginia history.
“Everybody in this state has been a part of this, and that’s all there is to it,” Justice said at the time of the announcement. “It is totally incredible. These numbers just came to me this morning, and the April [revenue collections] have surpassed all of our wildest expectations.”
“I really felt like, from day one, if we really got this thing going, that once it’s really going, it’s hard to stop,” Justice added. “And the engine is right now, without any question, really, really going.”
For the month of April, Personal Income Tax (PIT) collections exceeded projections by $192.8 million. Severance Tax collections exceeded projections by $17.6 million, Consumer Sales Tax by $18.8 million, and Corporate Net Income Tax by $65 million, respectively.
“It’s hands-down the single largest collections in our history,” Justice said. “And it’s driving our surplus now to where our surplus through 10 months of the year is $1.585 billion. Now we’re on track to significantly surplus the $1.7 billion that we projected.”
“Today is a day of incredible celebration for me, I promise you that,” Justice noted.
Joining Justice for the announcement was W.Va. Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy, as well as Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow.
“As we head toward the finish line on fiscal year 2023, we’re ten-twelfths of the way there now so you can start to see the end,” Hardy said. “Way back in the fall when my dear friend Mark Muchow said that he thought we might have a budget surplus of $1.7 billion, I was skeptical at the time. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s a big number.’ Now, with two months to go, we’re at $1.585. I think it’s fair to say that we are just going to blow through that $1.7 billion number, and go to an even higher surplus.”
“The fiscal year 2023 is historic,” Hardy added. “Now we said that a year ago. Last June, we said fiscal year 2022 was historic – our budget surplus was about $1.3 billion. We are now way past what we did in fiscal year 2022.”
According to Hardy, PIT collections for the month of April totaled $472.6 million. Earlier projections estimated April PIT collections to be $279.8 million.
“Not only did we break the record for total revenue, we completely shattered our record for PIT revenue over estimate,” Hardy added. “We like the PIT number because it means West Virginians are getting higher pay, and it means West Virginians are working. Those are two very, very good markers.”
Hardy then noted that this is particularly impressive as the recent PIT reduction enacted by the State Legislature is now in effect, and has been made retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.
“Despite that historic income tax cut, we still broke an all-time record for PIT collections in the month of April,” Hardy added.
Deputy Revenue Secretary Muchow then briefly echoed the sentiments of both Justice and Hardy, saying, “It’s not only the state that’s done well, but also local governments have done very well.”
“The local Severance Tax distribution almost doubled,” Muchow noted. “Oil and gas, as well as coal, were up $44.6 million over last year. Local tax distribution and local governments, a total of $92.8 million of Severance Tax has gone back to local governments this year – over $40 million higher than last year.”
“It’s a benefit, not only to state government, but also to local governments,” Muchow concluded.