Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy told West Virginia lawmakers Monday he expects the state to finish the current fiscal year with a budget surplus exceeding $1 billion.
Hardy said his department is projecting a $1.2 billion budget surplus just three weeks shy of June 30, which is the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year. Addressing lawmakers during a Joint Finance Committee meeting, Hardy said the state currently stands in more-than-solid financial shape as the fiscal year comes to a close.
“We’re $1.18 billion above year-to-date [figures] as of this morning,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that we will be at least $1.2 billion above projection for this current fiscal year.”
Hardy said the state is collecting an average of $100 million per month more than its revenue estimates. Thirteen days into June, Hardy said collections are nearly $73 million above projections. June’s figures are on track to be the second-highest month of collections next to April, Hardy said.
Gov. Jim Justice has made no secret about the state’s seeming financial success, as he’s consistently touted the ballooning budget surplus in recent months. The governor’s low, flat budget projections, however, created this massive surplus.
“It’s great news,” Hardy said of the most recent figures, “but it’s been going on the whole fiscal year.”
Mark Muchow, Deputy Secretary for the Department of Revenue, told lawmakers that May’s collections were a 16.3% increase from May 2021.
Justice is expected to call a special session to appropriate remaining surplus funding. Legislators are currently in Charleston for the June interim session, but Justice had not made any special session declarations as of Monday evening. Lawmakers will return to Charleston for an interim session July 24-26.
Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, asked Muchow about when lawmakers would have the opportunity to appropriate this surplus funding, which could be anywhere from $250 to $400 million, depending on June’s collections. Muchow said that could happen during a special session, or not until the 2023 regular legislative session.
Lawmakers approved a significant portion of the anticipated billion-dollar surplus during the most recent legislative session.