A Daily Mail editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s no longer business as usual in West Virginia state government. To borrow an old saying, state revenues just ain’t what they used to be.
With the Environmental Protection Agency-enhanced downturn of the coal economy, as well as a temporary oversupply of natural gas, severance tax revenues for 2017 are estimated to be about 40 percent less than initial 2016 revenue estimates, according to the state Department of Revenue 2017 fiscal year forecast. Fewer jobs in the extraction industries also mean lower state income and sales tax revenues.
Even with passage of the tobacco tax increase, “the 2017-18 budget is on pace to have a larger budget shortfall than the $270 million funding gap” that legislators finally found agreement on last week…