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W.Va. budget could fall short by $80 million

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With revenue collections remaining stagnant, West Virginia budget officials now think the state will finish its current budget year with between a $60 million to $80 million deficit.

The state collected nearly $221.7 million for the General Revenue Fund during February, about $5.4 million short of estimates for the month. The monthly shortfall pushed the running deficit for the current budget year, which began July 1, to nearly $47.6 million.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said the only way that gap could close on its own would be if revenue for the remaining four months of the budget year comes in at at least 9.7 percent greater than last year’s collections, which he said was unlikely. Collections so far this budget year are running only about 2 percent greater than last year’s collections.

Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said that if current trends continue, the state would likely face a year-end budget deficit between $60 million to $80 million.

February’s revenue figures would have seen a surplus had the state not made a one-time transfer to shore up the fund used to pay annual tax refunds.

Personal income tax revenue amounted to $40.4 million during the month, more than $22 million short of the forecast of $62.6 million…

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