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Unbelievable: West Virginia got 12 times as much cash on hand in coronavirus month

Christian Fernsby |
Gov. Jim Justice announced that West Virginia has accumulated a $244.3 million cash surplus through the first two months of Fiscal Year 2021, despite the effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the state’s economy.

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“It’s unbelievable, especially when you compare it to this time last year,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve almost got 12 times as much cash on hand right now as we had at the end of August last year, with no COVID situation going on.”

Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that August 2020 revenue collections came in at $35.8 million above estimates. Year-to-date revenue collections are $80.3 million above estimates and 31.3% above prior year receipts.

Total General Revenue Fund collections for the month of August were $331.4 million. Year-to-date collections have totaled $815.4 million.

Last month, Gov. Justice announced that with the income tax filing deadline having been moved from April to July as a result of the pandemic, West Virginia finished the month of July with a $243.9 million cash surplus; the largest monthly cash balance for the first month of any fiscal year in state history.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we were wondering ‘What are we going to do?’ This pandemic was a cannonball to the stomach for our budget. But we came together and we worked.” Gov. Justice said. “I give all the credit in the world to our great Department of Revenue, Secretary Hardy, and everyone who’s worked with us on this.

“I’m telling you, West Virginia, we continue to be the miracle,” Gov. Justice continued. “We continue to be the envy of this nation and that’s what we want to be because it’s changing our image. We’re becoming the place where everyone wants to come to live, to bring their businesses, to absolutely have all the opportunities and the greatness that abounds in this state everywhere.”

A summary of August 2020 revenue collections by major component follows:

- Personal income tax collections totaled $144.1 million in August. Monthly collections were $14.0 million above estimate and 1.6% ahead of prior year receipts. Wage and salary withholding tax collections were up an impressive 9.2% for the month. Cumulative withholding tax collections were 1.3% ahead of last year and cumulative personal income tax collections were nearly $24.5 million above estimate and 51.9% ahead of last year.

- Consumer sales tax collections rose by 6.1% in August, as monthly collections of nearly $131.6 million were $6.6 million above estimate. Cumulative collections of $221.4 million were $14.4 million above estimate and 8.3% above prior year receipts.

- Corporation net income tax collections totaled nearly $7.0 million in August. Collections were $6.5 million above estimate and more than three times greater than prior year receipts. Cumulative collections totaled $67.4 million as compared with $6.5 million in the prior year. Year-to-date receipts were $31.9 million above estimate.

- August severance tax collections were $5.1 million above estimate, but 62.8% below prior year receipts. Collections for the first two month of the year were $11.6 million above estimate.

- Cumulative interest income collections of nearly $5.2 million were $2.8 million above estimate and just 4.5% below prior year receipts despite significantly lower interest rates this year.

- As of the end of August, General Revenue Fund cash flow was $244.3 million as compared to $21.9 million last year.

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