UPDATE: WV Gov. Jim Justice announces solution to state revenue discrepancy


UPDATE(July 1, 2020 5:03 p.m.):

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After announcing a discrepancy in state revenue numbers during his Wednesday news briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s office issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that officials had figured out what happened and had come up with a solution. The full statement is below:

After announcing during his briefing on Wednesday that leaders with the Department of Revenue had identified a revenue reporting error, state Revenue officials, working throughout the day alongside the State Auditor’s Office, were able to come up with a solution which resolved the issue.

The issue began when the State Tax Department deposited nearly $9.6 million in General Revenue Fund receipts on June 30, 2020, including a sum of more than $3.8 million in electronic fund deposits for income withholding tax.

The $3.8 million deposit included State payroll withholding tax of nearly $2 million that was tagged as a Fiscal Year 2021 deposit rather than a Fiscal Year 2020 deposit due to the pay day falling on July 2, 2020.

The $2.0 million reduction in funds for Fiscal Year 2020 resulted in a net deficit of nearly $0.8 million.

The State Auditor’s Office has come up with a solution to the problem by allowing balance to be achieved through additional spending authorization reductions.

The State will be able to balance the final equation through additional Fiscal Year 2020 spending authorization reductions of $1 million in funds that would otherwise expire at the end of July.

The State will end the Fiscal Year 2020 budget year with a small surplus to be determined by the final close of books after July 31, 2020.

ORIGINAL STORY(July 1, 2020 2:05 p.m.)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice covered a variety of topics during his virtual COVID-19 news conference on Wednesday.

Much of the news briefing focused on finances. The governor began by announcing a discrepancy in state revenue numbers, describing it as a “slight little technical issue,” that “in the scope of things it’s absolutely nothing.”

Later in the briefing, Justice called on WV Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy to further explain the situation. Tuesday, at the end of the state’s fiscal year, the account was around $500,000 in the black, but when officials came into the office Wednesday morning, there had been a $1.375 million shift in the state’s bank account, Hardy said. He went on to say that his office is working with the State Auditor’s Office to fix the “clerical mistake.”

The governor announced that $24 million in CARES Act funding has been distributed to 137 cities and counties in the state and that more municipalities need to apply.

Gov. Justice also defended his plan to spend CARES Act funding on road projects in the state, that are related to getting residents to medical facilities. The plan has been questioned by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV.

Justice also reported that the amount of unemployment benefits distributed by WorkForce WV has surpassed $1 billion.

The governor also cited a study that says that consumer spending in West Virginia has returned to pre-pandemic spending levels and that it is one of six states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, and Tennessee, to do so.

Looking at COVID-19 cases in the state, Justice said that nearly ten percent of the state’s population has now been tested for coronavirus.

Giving an update on the number cases in West Virginia related to Myrtle Beach travel, Justice said there are now 115 cases. He again encourage anyone who has been to the popular destination to get tested.

There will be several opportunities for free testing around the state next week.

In the state’s prison and jail system, there is only one active case at the Huttonsville Correctional Center and there have been no deaths in the system, Justice said.

Gov. Justice saluted WVU Medicine for reopening the Fairmont Medical Center on Tuesday.

“Yesterday’s opening was a really special day,” Gov. Justice said. “To the people of Marion County, I congratulate you. I thank all of our legislators who helped make this happen. I thank WVU. I thank everyone involved and I’m looking forward to having a medical facility in Fairmont for years and years to come.”

The governor concluded the briefing with news that his daughter Jill, gave birth to a 7 pound 10 oz girl Tuesday at Johns Hopkins.

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