CHARLESTON, W.VA. – The West Virginia Department of Revenue today released revenue numbers for the month of July, the official start of fiscal year 2016.
General Revenue Fund collections totaled $251.78 million and monthly collections were nearly $4.8 million below estimate and 8.2 percent below prior year receipts. Revenue Secretary Robert S. Kiss attributes the deficit to a $3.8 million shortfall in severance tax collections.
“Lower energy prices are to blame for significant decline in severance tax collections in recent months,” Kiss said.
According to information from tax returns for both coal and natural gas industries, the average price of coal fell by roughly 23 percent and the average price of natural gas fell by roughly 57 percent during the final three months of Fiscal Year 2015.
“That’s not a pricing trend we want to see continue,” Kiss said. The shortfall was attributable to significantly lower energy prices and a recent trend toward lower coal production designed to bring supply in balance with demand.
Total monthly severance tax collections for all state funds were slightly more than $11 million this year as compared with $21 million last year. That’s a decline of more than 49 percent. By law, the first $22.5 million of severance tax collections are deposited into the Infrastructure Bond Fund. July deposits fell $2.1 million short of the amount required for the fund. Due to the quarterly local coal severance tax distributions, total net severance tax collections to the General Revenue Fund were negative for the month.
Personal Income Tax collections of more than $117.9 million were nearly $5.1 million below the $123 million estimate for the month and 1.7 percent below prior year receipts. The decline in receipts from the prior year was due to an acceleration of more than $11 million of July withholding tax collections to late June of the prior fiscal year.
The personal income tax shortfall was partially offset by a surplus in consumer sales tax. The positive news for the month was that consumer sales tax collections of slightly more than $84.0 million was $4.1 million above the estimate.
State Road Fund revenue was also below estimates. July collections were more than $62.8 million, an amount that was nearly $3.1 million below estimate and 11.4 percent below prior year receipts. Motor Fuel Excise Tax receipts totaled $35.4 million last month. July receipts were nearly $3.0 million below estimate and 13.1 percent below prior year receipts.
Secretary Kiss, Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow and State Auditor Glen Gainer will host a conference call for media today at 1:15 p.m. To participate, please call (304) 558-1017 and ask to be connected to the conference call.
For a detailed look at West Virginia’s revenue reports, visit www.budget.wv.gov/reportsandcharts/revenuereports.