CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia is looking at a $33 million deficit, just halfway through the current fiscal year. But things are looking up. The State Treasurer’s office has been able to negotiate lower interest rates on money the state borrows, and gain a higher return on state investments. That combined with unclaimed property, and there will be – as of now – a budget windfall.
“We are going to return $20 million to the General Revenue Fund. And $10 million of that will come from unclaimed property,” said Treasurer John Perdue, (D) West Virginia.
For months the Governor’s office has talked about the potential for budget cuts, at one point estimating the cuts at $100 million. Much of the bad news was caused by a sharp drop in severance taxes on coal and natural gas. But the new-found money will help ease that pain.
“The business guy initiates that. Now along the way, we still have restraint. And we still are watching and we’re still trying to hold back and everything. Because we don’t want to cut anything if we don’t have to,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
Right now, the Governor and legislature are trying to plan the budget for the coming year, but it’s hard to know how much money the state really has.
“Now there are some restrictions on how this newfound money can be used. It can be applied to the current year’s budget deficit but it cannot be rolled into next year’s budget,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.