Acting Revenue Secretary Larry Pack provides overview of Justice budget proposal

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “It’s really a phenomenal time to be in West Virginia. Our revenue is strong again – even with the largest tax cut in history passed last year.”

That’s what Acting Revenue Secretary Larry Pack told reporters on Wednesday, just hours before Gov. Jim Justice delivered his eighth and final State of the State address. Pack offered members of the media a preview of the governor’s Fiscal Year (FY 2025 budget proposal ahead of its public introduction.

“The tax cuts aren’t as large as last year, when they were in the $800 million range,” Pack said, telling reporters that this year’s proposed tax reduction targets three primary areas, and totals $49.7 million. 

Under the governor’s plan, social security benefits would be exempt from state income tax. The plan also calls for the creation of a child and dependent-care tax credit, and the expansion of the senior citizen homestead tax credit.

According to Pack, these adjustments would have a positive impact on approximately 130,000 West Virginia families.

“We’re very excited about all three cuts,” Pack said. “There’s plenty of money in the budget to absorb it, and we’re hopeful that the legislature will agree and make these happen as soon as possible.”

 Pack noted that the directive from Justice was to once again produce a “programmatically flat” budget. Total projected revenue for FY 2025 is $5.265 billion, which represents an increase of $381 million over last year. 

Acting Secretary of Revenue Larry Pack addresses members of the media during Wednesday’s budget preview. Photo by Matthew Young, RealWV.

“We’ve had three years of double digit revenue growth for the three previous fiscal years,” Pack explained. “We don’t expect it to be double digits this year, but it will still be really, really strong.”

The increase in projected revenue accounts for the $123 million cost for the pay raise for state employees, $100 million for Congressional earmarks and floods, $50 million for contract nursing services at state facilities, and $21 million for Medicaid administrative costs.

“On the expense side, again we’re as close to a flat budget as possible,” Pack noted.

Pack further stated that the budget proposal includes several supplemental appropriations requests, adding that, “This is money left over from the last fiscal year.”

Included within Justice’s supplemental appropriation requests are $150 million for the School Building Authority, $5 million for charter school seed-funding, $53 million to Sharpe/Bateman for nursing costs, $10 million for the Posey Perry Emergency Food Fund, and $30 million for the Nursing Workforce Expansion Initiative. 

“About three years ago, the governor announced a program to train 1,000 nurses within the state over a three-year period,” Pack noted. “This is additional funding for year-three of that program.”

At the conclusion of the governor’s address, his FY 2025 budget proposal was submitted to lawmakers. Now recorded as HB 4025, the House Committee on Finance is expected to begin their review on Friday. 

Read Gov. Jim Justice’s full FY 2025 budget proposal (HB 4025) here. 

RealWV will provide updates regarding the governor’s budget proposal throughout the duration of the 2024 Legislative Session.

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