CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Today, Gov. Jim Justice joined state revenue officials for his virtual Economic Pandemic Impact Review briefing. The Governor announced that, with the final numbers now in the books, West Virginia ended July, the first month of fiscal year 2021, with a $243.9 million cash surplus, despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy.
Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that the State ended Fiscal Year 2020 with a budgetary surplus of $28 million.
“At the end of the day, West Virginia is in profoundly good shape,” Gov. Justice said. “Even though it’s been a tough time since March, all along I felt like if we could just get through this past year, it would be a tremendous accomplishment. But these numbers are an absolute miracle.”
RECORD-BREAKING JULY COLLECTIONS
The Governor announced Monday that, with the income tax filing deadline having been moved from April to July as a result of the pandemic, West Virginia finished the month of July with a $243.9 million cash surplus; the largest monthly cash balance for the first month of any fiscal year in state history.
“We now have nearly five times as much cash on-hand as we did at this same time last year,” Gov. Justice said. “We knew our income taxes would give us a great jumpstart for the rest of the year, but the results have exceeded even what many thought were possible.”
HISTORIC FINISH TO FY2020
The $28 million surplus at the end of fiscal year 2020 comes after historic revenue surpluses from FY2019 were built into initial budget estimates for FY2020.
“When you think about where we had been, it has taken a tremendous effort by all West Virginians, but especially Governor Justice – meeting with us day in and day out and believing that we would make a turnaround and capitalizing on the assistance that we’ve had from the federal government – for us to get to where we are today,” Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said. “Governor, I want to thank you for your vision. This was not easy. We had no model to go by. We just had to go day-by-day to figure out what to do when we had a once-in-a-century event. But we feel like, on the back end, we’re healthier today than we were a year ago.”
“You did it, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “You have been courageous, you have sacrificed, and now you should be so proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
State law requires that half of any surplus at the end of the fiscal year be transferred to the Rainy Day Fund. As such, $14 million was put toward further supplementing this emergency reserve.
Of the remaining surplus, $6 million will be put toward the construction of an 8,300-foot long flood wall between the City of Milton and the Lower Mud River to significantly reduce the risk of future flooding in the area. The remaining $8 million is still to be appropriated.
The following is a detailed summary of July 2020 revenue collections:
General Revenue Fund collections for July 2020 – the first month of Fiscal Year 2021 – totaled a state record of nearly $484 million; an increase of more than $199 million or 70% over prior year collections.
In anticipation of receiving deferred income tax collections, the July monthly revenue estimate was set at $439.5 million, an amount that was more than 54% ahead of actual prior year collections.
Actual collections for the month exceeded the enhanced July revenue estimate by nearly $44.5 million, or 10.0%.
“The Consumer Sales Tax collections are a strong indicator,” Gov. Justice added. “Collections of more than $89.8 million, which are $7.8 million above estimate and 11.6% ahead of prior year receipts, show our economy to be strong.”
Personal Income Tax collections of more than $276.4 million were $10.4 million above estimate and nearly 105% ahead of prior year receipts. Income tax return payments for the month were more than $144 million ahead of prior year collections due to deferment from the fourth quarter of last year to July of this year.
Corporation Net Income Tax collections of more than $60.3 million were nearly $25.4 million ahead of estimate and $56 million ahead of prior year collections.