CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Revenue reported Tuesday, April 5, that the General Revenue Fund collection numbers for March shows $300.3 million in revenue for the month, an amount that lags nearly $28.6 million below estimates.
Cumulative collections for the state of more than $2.84 billion were $146.4 million below estimate and 2.7 percent, or $77.4 million, below prior year receipts.
Revenue Secretary Robert S. Kiss said the administration and Legislature still need to take additional actions to shore up the current budget utilizing various measures.
The biggest deficits for the month of March were in collection of Insurance Premium Tax ($13.4 million), Personal Income Tax ($12.4 million) and Corporation Net Income Tax ($2.8 million). The biggest deficits for the year-to-date were in the collection of Severance Tax ($141.8 million), Sales Tax ($23.4 million), Personal Income Tax ($20.8 million) and Interest Income ($11.1 million).
Other collections of interest:
- Severance Tax: Collections totaled more than $36.1 million for the month, an amount that was $0.3 million above estimate. These receipts included more than $9.6 million of additional severance tax diverted to the General Fund for gap closing purposes. Absent these additional revenues, monthly severance tax collections were roughly $9.3 million below estimate and 11.6 percent below prior year receipts.
- Cumulative General Revenue Fund Severance tax collections of $181.6 million were $141.8 million below estimate and nearly 40 percent below prior year receipts. Low energy prices continue to hinder collections.
- Consumer Sales Tax: Collections were 9.1 percent above prior year receipts and nearly $0.1 million above estimate. Local municipal sales tax collections rose from less than $1.4 million last March to more than $3.6 million this March due to an expanding number of participating cities and the doubling of tax rate in both Charleston and Wheeling. Absent the local tax collection surge, net monthly sales tax collections still rose by 6.5 percent from the prior year.
- Cumulative adjusted collections were still just 0.2 percent above prior year receipts due to trends of employment decline and sluggish wage growth.
- Personal Income Tax: Collections totaled $101.2 million, an amount that was $12.4 million below estimate and more than 19 percent less than prior year adjusted receipts. Monthly collections included an extra $10.6 million and cumulative collections included an extra $21.2 million that were retained following the passage of SB419. Due to sluggish employment trends, income withholding tax collections fell by 0.8 percent for the month and 2.7 percent over the past three months in comparison with the prior year. In addition, nonresident withholding tax receipts fell by 31 percent in March and by 28 percent over the past three months in comparison with the prior year. These decreases were only partially offset by slightly higher return payments and higher billing payments.
Cumulative income collections were more than $20.8 million below estimate ($42.0 million below estimate after discounting the $21.2 million gap fill adjustment) and just 0.45 percent ahead of prior year adjusted receipts.
Total tax refunds for the combined months of February and March were $110.8 million this year versus $110.6 million last year.
- Corporation Net Income Tax: Collections totaled less than $18.2 million and cumulative collections totaled nearly $104.9 million. Despite the inclusion of an additional $1.075 million in gap fill receipts due to the ending of quarterly transfers to the West Virginia Port Authority, monthly collections were still $2.8 million below estimate.
Cumulative receipts were $9.0 million below estimate and nearly 29 percent below prior year receipts. Weakening corporate profits and the impact of final phase-out of the business franchise tax component both weighed negatively on recent collection trends.
- State Road Fund: Collections of more than $54 million fell short of the March estimate by nearly $7.9 million and prior year receipts by 2.5 percent.
Cumulative collections of $517.2 million were nearly $10 million below estimate and 4.6 percent below prior year collections.