West Virginia tax collections of $1.3 billion so far this fiscal year are 5.3 percent higher than last year, with October receipts nearing $354 million, both very close to budget projections, state officials reported Monday.
Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said the four-month results indicate the state won't need to make midyear budget cuts like it did last year.
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"As we move forward, of course we have two-thirds of the fiscal year left, I think big picture we improve greatly from last year," Hardy said. "But we're always performing a balancing act and we're watching the finances literally day by day."
The increases partly reflect more severance taxes collected on production of natural gas, coal and oil from a year ago that were 37 percent higher, Hardy said.
October showed higher personal income tax collections of $156 million, including five percent higher payroll withholdings, Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow said. Other state data showed non-farm employment for September totaled 746,800 workers, up about 3,000 from a year earlier, concentrated in mining and logging, with some growth in health care, education and construction, he said.
October's State Road Fund collections, boosted by higher gasoline taxes and motor vehicle fees enacted earlier this year to help fund more road projects, were $86.6 million for October, up $19.2 million above the budget estimate. They totaled $276.5 million for the four months, or $4.6 million above estimates.
Severance tax collections, estimated to increase to $361 million for the entire fiscal year, were $24.3 million for October and $80.7 million for the four months.
Tax officials said one possible concern going forward would be weakness in natural gas prices and consequently in those tax receipts.