|CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the state’s General Revenue Fund collections continue to far exceed estimates and that the first quarter surplus for Fiscal Year 2019, $119.9 million, is the highest first-quarter surplus in West Virginia’s history. Year-to-date collections show West Virginia at an annualized growth rate of nearly 18%. "An annualized growth rate of 18% is frankly unheard of." Gov. Justice said.|
“I’ve been saying it and I’m going to continue saying it, what is taking place here is an incredible, incredible story,” Gov. Justice added. “West Virginia is moving forward at a record pace and this is tremendous news for our state. We still have much work to do and we won't stop until every last one of our people is helped. However, clearly we are on the right path and we are restoring real hope for our citizens.”
September General Revenue Fund collections of $452.9 million were nearly $54.1 million above estimate and 16.4% above prior year receipts. The increase from prior year receipts was attributable to a $40.1 million increase in monthly Personal Income Tax collections, an $11.2 million monthly increase in Consumer Sales tax collections and a $9.2 million increase in monthly Corporation Net Income Tax collections. These three revenue sources accounted for 95% of the increase in collections from the prior year and for 85% of the monthly surplus over estimates.
“The sharp rise in collections was attributable to very high rates of growth in Personal Income Tax, Corporation Net Income Tax, Consumer Sales Tax, and Severance Tax collections,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s a real statement as to how our economy is improving. The numbers tell the story.”
Year-to-date General Fund Severance Tax collections were 71.3% ($40.2 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date General Fund Consumer Sales Tax collections were 16.6% ($46.6 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date Personal Income Tax collections were 16.0% ($69.4 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date Corporation Net Income Tax collections were 27.9% ($10.3 million) ahead of last year.
A summary of major components follows:
September Personal Income Tax collections of $217.6 million were $29.5 million above estimate and 22.6% above of prior year receipts.The gain in net revenue from the prior year was due to higher than expected withholding tax receipts. Income withholding tax payments of $149.8 million were 25.7% above prior year receipts and reflect a combination of improving wage and employment growth. Cumulative withholding tax collections of $418.5 million were 15.9% above prior year receipts. Withholding tax collections previously grew by 9.1% during the final three months of FY2018. Data from the WorkForce WV August employment report showed private-sector employment growth of 1.0% over the prior year with 40% of the job growth concentrated in the construction sector.
September Consumer Sales and Use Tax collections of nearly $121.2 million were $5.2 million above estimate and 10.2% above prior year receipts. Cumulative collections were $21.2 million above estimate and 16.6% ahead of prior year receipts. Overall collection growth, including transfers to special revenue funds, was a robust 11.8% for the year-to-date. After rising at a more modest clip of roughly 2% during most of last year, total sales tax collections rose at much higher rates of 7.8% in June, 13.3% in July, 12.9% in August and 10.1% in September, respectively.
September General Revenue Fund Severance Tax collections of nearly $33.8 million were $4.7 million above estimate and 8.3% ahead of prior year receipts. Year-to-date collections were nearly $35 million above estimate and 71.3% ahead of prior year collections. Total cumulative severance tax collections for all funds were up by nearly 48%. Recent strong growth in collections was partially attributable to growth in the value of foreign exports of coal. In addition, natural gas prices are trending a bit higher than last year with greater summer price stability this year.
September Corporation Net Income Tax collections of more than $41.1 million were nearly $11.3 million above estimate and 28.8% higher than prior year receipts. Cumulative collections of more than $47.0 million were $10.4 million above estimate and 27.9% ahead of prior year receipts.
Tobacco Products collections totaled nearly $13.8 million in September, an amount that was $0.2 million below estimate and 3.2% below prior year receipts. Cumulative collections were still nearly $1.1 million above estimate and 1.6% below prior year receipts.
September Business and Occupation Tax collections of nearly $6.3 million were roughly $0.1 million below estimate. Cumulative collections of $25.8 million were $1.4 million above estimate and 2.9% ahead of prior year receipts.
Insurance Premium Tax collections of $0.7 million were $0.4 million above estimate in September. Year-to-date collections of $29.9 million were $1.3 million above estimate and 6.8% ahead of last yeardue to higher insurance premiums in a growing economy.
In September, total State Road Fund collections of $119.2 were $0.7 million below estimate, but 30.9% above prior year receipts. The shortfall was largely due to an $8.8 million shortfall in federal reimbursements. All other collections were collectively $8.1 million above the monthly estimate and 27.5% ahead of prior year receipts due to a 59.3% rise in Motor Fuel Excise Tax collections. Motor Fuel Excise Tax collections exceeded estimates by $7.3 million in September after falling short of estimate by $12.2 million in August. A significant portion of the Motor Fuel Excise Tax due on August 31st was not remitted by affected Taxpayers until early September. Monthly License and Registration Fee collections were nearly $1.5 million above estimate and 11.4% ahead of prior year receipts. Monthly Motor Vehicle Sales Tax collections of $19.1 million were $0.2 million above estimate and 3.4% ahead of prior year receipts.
Cumulative State Road Fund collections of $371.2 million were $1.7 million below estimate and 14.0% ahead of prior year receipts. Discounting federal reimbursements, total collections of nearly $234.1 million were $30.8 million above estimate and 13.3% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative Motor Fuel Excise Tax collections were $15.4 million above estimate and 23.0% ahead of last year. Cumulative License and Registration Fees were $9.9 million ahead of estimate and 24.2% ahead of last year. Cumulative Motor Vehicle Sales Tax collections were nearly $6.8 million above estimate and 14.8% ahead of prior year receipts.
For details on other revenues, go to