CHARLESTON – Gov. Jim Justice reported Thursday that April Revenue Collections resulted in a $53.6 million surplus, which was 13 percent above prior year receipts.
This marks the 13th out of the past 15 months that West Virginia’s monthly revenue collections came in above estimate.
“When I walked in the door two-and-a-half years ago we were so bankrupt it was unbelievable, it was unfathomable,” Gov. Justice said during a press conference at the Governor’s Reception Room inside the State Capitol Thursday. “You always expect a big number in April with personal income tax coming in, but you budget a big number. And even still, we were $53.6 million over that big number and that’s what is so great about this today.”
April’s total collections of $604.7 million added to the year-to-date total collection amount of $3.89 billion, which is $244.9 million above the governor’s original year-to-date estimate. Even after revising that estimate, year-to-date collections are at a $77 million surplus and 11.5% ahead of where the total collections were at this time last year.
“At some point all this goodness has got to resonate and we ought to be doggone happy,” Gov. Justice said. “These are big-time numbers and while they’re spectacular beyond belief, we can do even more for all of us. I hope one of the things we’ll be able to do is glean some of this surplus and put even more money into fixing our roads and much more.”
The following is a summary of April 2019 Revenue Collections:
General Revenue Fund
April General Revenue Fund collections of $604.7 million were $53.6 million above estimate and 13.0% above prior year receipts. These numbers reflected strong year-end income tax payments due at mid-month.
Year-to-date collections of more than $3.89 billion were nearly $77.0 million above estimate (as revised in March 2019) and 11.5% ahead of prior year receipts. The sharp rise in collections was attributable to very high rates of growth in Severance Tax, Corporation Net Income Tax, Consumer Sales Tax and Personal Income Tax collections. Year-to-date General Fund Severance Tax collections were 34% ($93.5 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date Corporation Net Income Tax collections were 73% ($63.3 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date General Fund Consumer Sales Tax collections were 10.5% ($104.8 million) ahead of last year. Year-to-date Personal Income Tax collections were 8.4% ($134.3 million) ahead of last year. As of the end of April, cumulative collections were nearly $244.9 million ahead of original estimates for the year.
A summary of major components follows:
April Personal Income Tax collections of $333.2 million were $25.3 million above estimate and 13.4% above prior year receipts. This sharp rise in collections followed a mild downturn in March collections. Cumulative collections were $14.8 million (0.9%) above the revised estimate and 8.4% ahead of prior year receipts. The increase in monthly net revenue from the prior year was partially due to a sharp 21% increase in annual return revenues for the month. The monthly surplus was also partially attributable to a $4.3 million (78%) rise in non-resident withholding tax collections from the prior year. Wage and salary withholding tax payments of $164.4 million were a modest 2.0% above prior year receipts. Cumulative withholding tax collections of more than $1.42 billion were 10.0% above prior year receipts. Withholding tax collections previously grew by 9.1% during the final three months of FY2018.
Corporation Net Income Tax collections of more than $45.2 million were more than $15.0 million above estimate and 78.9% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative collections of nearly $150 million were $27.4 million above estimate and 73% ahead of prior year receipts. Taxpayers were motivated to maximize their business deductions in the year prior to the implementation of federal tax reform (i.e., TY2017) and to defer income realizations until after the new lower tax rates first took effect. The result was a greater level of reportable taxable income in TY2018 and higher tax yield as reflected in annual return payments received in April.
April Consumer Sales and Use Tax collections of more than $100.5 million were nearly $2.6 million above estimate and 7.1% above prior year receipts. Cumulative collections were $2.6 million above the revised estimate and 10.5% ahead of prior year receipts. Overall collection growth, including transfers to special revenue funds, was a robust 9.2% for the year-to-date.
April General Revenue Fund Severance Tax collections of nearly $46.4 million were $11.1 million above estimate and 15.9% ahead of prior year receipts. Year-to-date General Revenue Fund Severance Tax collections were $19.0 million above the revised estimate and 34.2% ahead of prior year collections. Total cumulative Severance Tax collections for all funds were up by 30.5%. Recent strong growth in collections was partially attributable higher oil and natural gas prices and greater sales of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Insurance Premium Tax collections totaled $29.8 million in April, an amount that was nearly $0.6 million below estimate and 1.4% below prior year receipts. Cumulative collections of $128.2 million were still $5.8 million above estimate and 3.9% ahead of last year.
Tobacco Products collections totaled $13.3 million in April, an amount that was $0.6 million below estimate, but 3.7% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative collections were $8.3 million below estimate and 4.1% below prior year receipts.
April Business and Occupation Tax collections of $17.2 million were $1.7 million above estimate. Cumulative collections of $101.7 million were $5.5 million above estimate and 8.2% ahead of prior year receipts.
State Road Fund
In April, total State Road Fund collections of $132.9 million were $19.7 million above estimate and 27.9% above prior year receipts. Cumulative collections of $1.04 billion were $62.3 million below estimate, but 0.7% above prior year receipts. The year-to-date shortfall was solely attributable to a relatively high estimate for federal fund reimbursements. Even though the actual reimbursements are below the estimate, the State is fully capturing all available federal reimbursement funds. As of the end of April, cumulative federal reimbursements of nearly $319 million were 0.5% ahead of last year.
State Road Fund collections attributable to State revenue sources totaled $74.2 million in April and $722.1 million for the year-to-date. Year-to-date collections were $20.8 million above estimate and 0.9% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative Motor Fuel Excise Tax collections of $382.4 million were $3.9 million below estimate and 4.2% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative License and Registration Fee collections of $127.8 million were $17.7 million above estimate and 12.7% ahead of prior year receipts. Cumulative Motor Vehicle Sales Tax collections totaled $193.9 million. Cumulative collections were $4.6 million above estimate and 4.8% ahead of prior year receipts.