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State Income $41 Million Above Estimates for Year With AM-Budget Crunch, Bjt

July 1, 1991

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Just two years ago, West Virginia was the budgetary basket case of the country. Its deficit hovered in the $300 million range and the state Supreme Court had declared its budget unconstitutional because it threatened the state’s financial stability.

Today, while other states struggle with multi-billion-dollar deficits, West Virginia’s state government is the picture of fiscal health.

The state ended the 1990-91 fiscal year at least $41 million in the black, Gov. Gaston Caperton announced Monday.

The exact amount of the budget surplus won’t be known until at least Aug. 1 because agencies have 30 days to clear their books, but House Finance Chairman Rick Murensky, D-McDowell, said he expects the figure to be between $42 million and $43 million.

″We’re very proud,″ Caperton said. ″All West Virginians have sacrificed and worked very hard to make it happen. It means better jobs. It means an improvement in our economy.″

The Legislature already has earmarked $23.3 million in surplus funds for projects in the coming fiscal year. Of that, $21 million would be used to pay Medicaid claims, $800,000 for a new state government accounting system, and $1.5 million for the financially-strapped state Division of Energy.

Caperton also has said he wants $6 million more in surplus funds to make up the state’s matching money for a health care grant.

Any surplus left over after those expenditures is to be used to reduce the amount the state must borrow to finance a $1,000-a-year public school teacher pay raise.

Personal income taxes were a big money-maker for the state, bringing in $30.3 million more than expected. Corporate net income taxes came in $27.6 million below projections. Other business-related taxes did better than expected.

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