Governor announces surplus
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday that West Virginia’s revenue collections for September 2020 came in at about $10 million above estimates, putting a positive finishing touch on a first quarter that saw multiple all-time state revenue records broken.
“One indicator that I love to watch closely is our consumer sales tax, and our consumer sales tax was an all-time record for the State of West Virginia in the first quarter,” Gov. Justice said. “In addition to that, we set the all-time first quarter record for personal income tax collections.”
“I just can’t say enough about how much great work so many people are doing every day all across West Virginia – our businesses, big and small alike – everyone has put in a lot of licks and we’re setting records,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia, you continue to surprise the world.”
Year-to-date general revenue collections are $90.4 million above estimates and 12.8% above prior year receipts.
Additionally, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has accumulated a $298.7 million cash surplus through the first three months of Fiscal Year 2021.
For comparison, the cash flow at the end of September last year was $120.1 million, nearly 2.5 times less than the cash surplus recorded so far this year despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy.
West Virginia’s end-of-Q1 cash flow is the state’s best such mark since Fiscal Year 2009.
“We are so blessed, not only with all that our state’s businesses are doing, but also by having so many outstanding people in our Department of Revenue,” Gov. Justice said. “This is truly a great day.”
The Governor was joined by state revenue leaders for a virtual briefing Thursday to announce West Virginia’s latest successful month of revenue collections.
“We had a great September. We’re always happy when we come in above budget,” Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said. “But that’s not the whole story here today. We often say, in the Revenue Department, that we get four major grade cards a year, and they come at the end of each quarter of the calendar.
“Ninety days is a very good time to take a look at your numbers and try to get a feel for how we’re doing, not just in a specific month, because months can vary due to cyclical things, but quarters are generally a much better estimate of how we’re doing,” Secretary Hardy continued. “And we are very, very happy. We would give very high marks for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.”
Secretary Hardy added that, just this week, ratings agency S&P Global reaffirmed West Virginia’s General Obligation bond rating as AA-/Stable.
Total General Revenue Fund collections for the month of September were $423.6 million. Year-to-date collections have totaled $1.239 billion.
After the first month of FY2021, Gov. Justice announced that – with the income tax filing deadline having been moved from April to July as a result of the pandemic – West Virginia accumulated a first-month cash surplus of $243.9 million; the largest monthly cash balance for the first month of any fiscal year in state history.
September General Revenue Fund collection highlights:
• September General Revenue Fund collections of $423.6 million were roughly $10 million above estimate.
• Year-to-date collections of $1.239 billion were nearly $90.4 million above estimate and 12.8% above prior year receipts.
• Cumulative collections were $140.9 million above prior year receipts.
A summary by major component follows:
• Consumer sales tax collections rose by 2.8% in August, as monthly collections of $129.3 million were $0.8 million above estimate. Record first quarter collections of $350.7 million were $15.2 million above estimate and 6.2% above prior year receipts.
• Personal income tax collections totaled $194 million in September. Cumulative personal income tax collections were $22.4 million above estimate and 22% ahead of last year.
• Corporation net income tax collections totaled nearly $38.4 million in September. Collections were $11.4 million above estimate. Cumulative collections totaled nearly $105.8 million as compared with $50.2 million in the prior year. Year-to-date receipts were $43.3 million above estimate.
• September Severance tax collections totaled $18.6 million and first quarter collections totaled $22.6 million. Collections for the first quarter of the year were $5.8 million above estimate.
• Cumulative interest income collections of nearly $6.5 million were $2.9 million above estimate and just 29.8% below prior year receipts despite significantly lower interest rates this year.
• As of the end of September, General Revenue Fund cash flow was $297.8 million, the best end-of-first-quarter cash flow since FY 2009. For comparison purposes, cash flow at the end of September 2019 was $120.1 million.