West Virginia Coal, Gas Tax Gains Cut Budget Deficits

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia’s tax collections from natural gas and coal production climbed again in May, with overall state revenues exceeding budget estimates by $53 million and prompting state tax officials to significantly lower the projected deficit that’s driving the state budget impasse.

Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy says they now forecast $170 million in higher receipts for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

He says the current state budget, based on recent revenues and funding adjustments, should balance this year’s budget, which closes out in 24 days.

Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow says severance taxes for natural gas were up 30 percent through April compared with the previous fiscal year, while coal was up 4 percent.

He says the state’s overall economy and revenues have improved significantly since last summer.