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Gov. Tomblin cuts state agency budgets by 4 percent

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Monday announced an across-the-board 4 percent cut for most state government agencies, a move he said is necessary due to “unexpected and unprecedented” drops in the state’s severance tax collections.

State aid to public schools, which has been spared in recent years of budget cuts, will see a 1 percent cut this year, Tomblin announced.

State officials are projecting a $250 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2016, which started July 1 and ends in June 2016. That includes a projected $190 million shortfall in severance tax revenues, collected from coal, oil, gas and timber.

As of Sept. 30, just three months into the fiscal year, general revenues were more than $60 million behind estimates, a news release from Tomblin’s office said. That number is five times larger than the $12 million deficit that the state had at the end of August, just one month prior.

Severance tax revenues dropped a whopping 36 percent during July and August, after dropping 31 percent in April, May and June…

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