West Virginia Imposing 4 Percent Cuts After Coal, Gas Revenues Drop

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – With dipping coal and natural gas revenue, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is cutting most state agency spending by 4 percent, or more than $100 million total, including canceling holiday parties and continuing a hiring freeze.

Tomblin on Monday pointed to “unexpected and unprecedented” drops in dollars from the severance tax on unearthing resources like coal and natural gas.

State public school aid will see a 1 percent reduction, money Tomblin says has been held harmless from cuts in recent years.

Tomblin says the 2016 deficit currently exceeds $250 million, due to a $190 million shortfall in severance tax collections. One-time money will also help cover the difference.

Coal production is down 15 percent compared to last year. Natural gas sales are up about 30 percent, but prices have dropped.