Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 2, 2013

W.Va. tax revenues again fall below estimate

Official says trend may continue

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State tax revenues may miss their mark for the budget year following a poor showing in January, just as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin prepares to lay out a new spending plan to the Legislature, a senior revenue official said Friday.

Collections were projected to exceed $406 million last month, but instead totaled $394.5 million. That more than erased a slight gain reached in December, and caused revenue to lag by $7.9 million since the budget year began July 1.

While the shortfall is less than 1 percent of the $2.3 billion to-date estimate, Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said that trend may continue.

“We’re treading water, and we’ve been treading water all fiscal year,” Muchow said Friday. “The seas are pretty rough out there. I don’t expect any surplus to speak of. There’s a chance we’ll end up below the estimate somewhat.”

A weak energy sector, particularly regarding coal, remains a drag on the state’s economy and resulting tax revenue. Just as strong coal prices and demand proved vital to the state budget during and after the recession, from 2009 through 2011, the drop in production is reflected in the current collection figures, Muchow said.

West Virginia taxes coal and other natural resources as they are extracted from the ground. This severance tax was supposed to bring in $36 million in January, but fell $9.5 million short. Severance tax collections are down $28.8 million below their year-to-date estimate, and are behind 17.5 percent when compared to this point during the 2011-2012 budget year.

“The best news so far is that it’s 10 to 15 degrees outside,” Muchow said. “A cold February can only help energy prices.”

The two chief revenue sources, taxes on sales and personal income, also reflect economic activity and missed their targets last month. Personal income tax collections totaled $182.5 million, just $400,000 below the estimate, and remain up by 2 percent for the budget year so far.

“That’s a fairly anemic growth rate,” Muchow said.

Those collections would have been worse, had Congress temporarily averted the so-called fiscal cliff before Jan. 1, Muchow said. Because of the various last-minute changes made by Congress to the tax code, the Internal Revenue Service did not process income tax returns — and any resulting refunds — until the end of January, he said.

Sales taxes brought in $133.5 million last month, or $2.2 million less than projected. That was below the estimates for the year as well as for where they were a year ago. But Muchow attributes much of that to the ongoing cuts to the sales tax on groceries.

January’s few bright spots included corporate net income taxes, which exceeded their $2.5 million estimate by $1.9 million. All told, the revenue picture suggests tough times for the next budget year, Muchow said.

Tomblin, a Democrat, has already warned of as much. He previously asked most state agencies to trim their spending plans for the coming year by 7.5 percent. The governor will submit his proposal for the next budget on Feb. 13, when the Legislature begins its regular 60-day session.

Text Only
Local News
  • 43-year-old receives prison time for molesting his niece

    CUMBERLAND — A 43-year-old city man was sentenced Wednesday to a 10-year prison term for the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County.

    April 24, 2014

  • House of cards House of cards

    Sixth-graders James Patalinghug, left, and Nina Cutter build a multilevel tower out of index cards Tuesday afternoon at Washington Middle School. The activity was part of a science, technology, engineering, math, known as STEM, lesson designed to teach students about load distribution, friction and gravity.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORY ORNDORFF Green Spring man sentenced to 40 years for toddler’s death

    ROMNEY, W.Va. — Hampshire County Circuit Court Judge H. Charles Carl III sentenced 22-year-old Cory A. Orndorff of Green Spring to 40 years in prison for one count of child abuse resulting in the death of an 18-month-old child Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Glen Bell, a public information officer 900-acre Bear Den wildfire 70 percent contained

    CENTERVILLE, Pa. — A 900-acre wildfire on Wills Mountain in Bedford County was said Wednesday to be “the largest fire in Pennsylvania this spring season,” according to Cecile Stelter, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry public information officer.
    The fire that was reportedly situated mostly on state game lands began Saturday at about 2 p.m., with initial firefighting efforts handled by the Cumberland Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department at Centerville.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • System to provide firefighters quick access could be required in new Mineral businesses

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Commission agreed to look into the possibility of implementing an ordinance that would require new commercial businesses to install a KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.

    April 23, 2014

  • Puff & Stuff owners agree to settlement over claims they sold synthetic drugs

    CUMBERLAND — Charles and Traci Casey, owners of Puff & Stuff stores in Cumberland and LaVale, have agreed to forfeit $173,988.61, to settle claims that they sold synthetic drugs at their stores.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall maulers

    Chad Trail, Rick Ryan, Mike Lawrence and Rusty Pyles, Cumberland Street Department employees, work on replacing the concrete strips that run between the bricks on the Downtown Cumberland Mall between Centre and Liberty streets.

    April 23, 2014

  • CHARLES  SEVERANCE W.Va. judge orders Severance extradited to Virginia

    WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A man wanted for questioning in relation to three unsolved slayings in Alexandria, Va., in the past decade should be extradited to Virginia on an unrelated weapons charge, a West Virginia judge ruled Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keyser man faces charges in Easter incident

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier is faced with deciding whether to charge a Keyser man with disturbing a religious worship.

    April 23, 2014

  • 43-year-old receives prison time for molesting his niece

    CUMBERLAND — A 43-year-old city man was sentenced Wednesday to a 10-year prison term for the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County.

    April 23, 2014