New numbers paint different pictures for state, federal budgets

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – New information released this week paints two completely different pictures for state and federal budgets, as West Virginia is reporting continued tax surpluses while the federal government slides further into debt.

The United States national debt now exceeds $34 trillion for the first time in history, just three months after it reached $33 trillion mark.

Meanwhile, West Virginia’s state budget office is reporting a surplus of $400 million for the first half of the 2024 fiscal year after the state received more tax revenue than it initially estimated.

The budget surplus follows the largest tax cut in state history, and Governor Justice attributes it to the “resilience” of West Virginia’s economy.

“This is excellent news as we head into the new calendar year but is not a surprise as our economy remains rock solid,” Justice said. “Surpassing estimates by over $400 million halfway through the fiscal year is a testament to the resilience of our state’s economy. We also continue to prove cutting our income tax was the correct decision, and I am proud that we continue to establish a bright future for West Virginia.”

Economists say that the growing national debt is due to multiple factors, including interest rates and lower tax numbers.

In West Virginia, the state has had significant surplus revenue as of late. The last fiscal year ended with a budget surplus of $1.8 billion.

Governor Justice said it is something to be proud of.

“We’ve become almost numb to [it]. I remember like it was yesterday, if we had a number that was $20 million, we were absolutely out of our minds,” Justice said. “We were really trying to push those numbers and push them in in a more and more positive way.”

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