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W.Va. tax collections down $5 million in July

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State tax collection in July came up $4.8 million short, hurt by a continuing downturn in energy prices, as well as policy changes that allowed more than $30 million in taxes normally due in July to be paid in June, West Virginia Department of Revenue officials reported Wednesday.

Overall in the first month of the 2015-16 budget year, the state collected a total of $251.78 million, 2 percent below expectations, and 8 percent below July 2014.

Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said he is concerned that, for the first time, declines in severance tax collections are being driven not just by low prices for coal and natural gas, but also by a decline in coal production in the state.

“The one thing that’s particularly concerning is, this month it appears the severance tax shortfall is a function of reduced production of coal,” Kiss said.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow noted that in the past year, coal prices have dropped 23 percent, while natural gas prices have plunged 57 percent.

While coal sales fell a negligible 1 percent in the last budget year, sales dropped 4.3 percent in the past three months…

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