CHARLESTON, W.Va. - (WTAP) Update: 10/1/2019
West Virginia tax collections for the month of September show a rebound, thanks largely to quarterly personal income taxes.
Governor Jim Justice announced Tuesday September revenue collections were more than 5% above September of 2018.
Collections for the first quarter of the fiscal year, however, were below estimates, thanks to worse than projected collections for July and August.
The better than projected numbers for September were helped by personal income tax collections that were ahead of estimates.
The quarterly shortfall is being blamed on a downturn in energy prices-most notably, a slowdown in work on natural gas pipeline projects.
The West Virginia budget year that ended in June was one of revenue collections that mostly came in above projections.
So far in the current fiscal year, however, those collections have been down.
Lawmakers cite the energy sector, with coal and natural gas tax revenues considered "soft". The reason, they say, is regulatory rulings that have halted or slowed down pipeline construction projects.
"A slowdown in energy construction projects is affecting the amount of money we're bringing in on a monthly basis, from our tax revenues," says Wood County delegate John Kelly, Vice-Chairman of the House Energy Committee.
But House Finance Committee Vice-Chairman Vernon Criss believes things are not as much as concern as they seem to be.
"The other taxes seem to be in line, revenues from personal income and consumer sales tax, primarily," says Criss, of Wood County. "And wait until September is over, because the first quarter estimates are due on corporate income tax, so we'll have a better feel for that by the end of the month."
There are collections reported at the end of each quarter, which ends this month, and Criss adds monthly collections are stabilizing.
"Those dollars may appear or may not appear, but as far as the regular ongoing budget numbers, it appears we're still going to appear in pretty good shape."
While local governments get some money from the state, Wood County's dollars mostly come from property taxes. County Administrator Marty Seufer says its state money comes from fixed sources not dependent on the general revenue fund.
The legislature has held its interim meetings this week. The 2020 legislative session begins in January.