Midyear spending cuts, which helped keep the state budget balanced, spurred the excess for the fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The previous forecast was for the collection of $3.78 billion from general tax revenues during this budget year, garnering all but $357.1 million of that by June 1. Instead, the state entered the month down $44 million from projections, with a $50 million projected shortfall for the fiscal year.
Because of the forethought of Gov. Joe Manchin and the state Legislature, who ordered all executive branch agencies to cut spending by 3.4 percent, West Virginia is in the black with a balanced budget.
The same can not be said for most of the states in the Union, many of which are dealing with budget shortfalls in the billions of dollars. California, which has a $41 billion shortfall and New Jersey, which has an $8.71 billion shortfall, are two of the country’s worst. The governor and state Legislature have done an exemplary job in keeping our budget balanced, and keeping the state out of debt. As for the budget surplus, the Legislature has mandated that half of it be sent directly to the state’s emergency fund.
In economically uncertain times likes these, every dollar — indeed, every penny — needs to tracked and used wisely. It is this forethought that will keep West Virginia financially solvent for this and following generations.