West Virginia Expects $35M Deficit for Current Budget Year

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – State officials expect a $353 million deficit for the current budget year as revenues from unearthing coal, oil and natural gas continue to drop.

The Department of Revenue on Wednesday projected a continued dive in severance tax revenue.

West Virginia’s coal industry has withered amid lower natural gas prices, competition from other coal regions, dismal markets, dwindling coal seams and regulations. Natural gas revenues fallen because of low prices.

In a news release, Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said the struggling severance tax will impact other critical revenues, including personal income tax and sales tax.

Kiss said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is committed to ending the budget year with a balanced budget. He’ll share his plan next week.

In October, Tomblin cut most state agencies by 4 percent amid budget woes.