Gov. Justice announces record-breaking April tax revenue collections
CHARLESTON — April showers bring May flowers, but in West Virginia those April showers brought in the most tax revenue ever collected during any April on record, according to revenue officials.
Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference Thursday to announce the April revenue numbers, which came in $53.6 million above the governor’s revised revenue estimates.
“That’s a big-time number,” Justice said to a room full of applause. “How many times do you think in state history we had a month that exceeded that?”
According to Mark Muchow, deputy secretary of the state Department of Revenue, there hasn’t been an April surplus exceeding $53.6 million since the state has kept track of such numbers. The state brought in $604.7 million in revenue when it was estimated to bring in $551.1 million. The April collections came in 13 percent above collections in April 2018.
“April is our number one month out of the year,” Muchow said. “I’m pretty confident that the $605 million is the highest April we’ve ever had.”
Muchow said April revenue numbers tend to be good due to last-minute income tax payments to the state. These include personal income tax collections and corporate net income tax collections.
Personal income tax collections for April came in at $333.2 million, or $25.3 million above estimate and 8.4 percent above 12 months earlier at $134.3 million.
The corporate net income tax collections came in at $45.2 million, $15 million above estimate and 78.9 percent above last April’s numbers. Justice said the corporate net income tax numbers were a good sign that West Virginia’s economy was improving.
“When you start talking about corporate net dollars that are up, that directly looks right into our souls. That looks right into our employment. That looks right into businesses,” Justice said. “All of a sudden now you can see into your soul it’s really going.”
Consumer sales tax collections came in at $46.4 million, which was $11.1 million above estimate and 15.9 percent above the prior year’s collection totals.
According to revenue officials, the state is $244.9 million above the governor’s original estimate for year-to-date tax collections. Factoring in the revised estimate as of March, tax collections year-to-date of $3.89 billion are $77 million above estimates and 11.5 percent ahead of collections in April 2018.
Except for the months of January and March, revenue numbers since the start of the 2019 fiscal year in July have come in above estimates. With April’s revenue numbers in, the state has seen monthly surpluses for 13 out of the last 15 months.
“It’s spectacular beyond belief,” Justice said. “It is the case that you always expect a big number in April, but you budget a big number. This is above what we budgeted.”