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Difference between revisions of "West Virginia state budget and finances"

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Revision as of 13:02, 18 January 2014

West Virginia state budget

Flag of West Virginia.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2014
Date signed:  April 17, 2013
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $4.1 billion
Other state budgets
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West Virginia's Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the state's $11.6 billion FY2013 budget into law on March 22, 2012.[1]

The state operates on an annual budget cycle.[2] The fiscal year begins on July 1.

West Virginia has a total state debt of approximately $23,738,138,000 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 state budget gap.[3] The FY2013 state debt is slightly increased from the prior year's total of approximately $22,941,837,000.[4]

West Virginia's total FY2012 state debt per capita is $12,794.33.[5]

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
West Virginia 30.41% (#24) 33.97% (#24) 37.9% (#21) 37.55% (#22)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[6][7]

FY2014 State Budget

In Aug. 2012, Gov. Tomblin instructed state agencies to plan to reduce spending by 7.5 percent in FY2014. Higher education leaders asked to be exempt from those cuts, which would mean a cut of $34.8 million.[8]

FY2013 State Budget

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the state's $11.6 billion FY2013 budget into law on March 22, 2012.[9] The governor used his line-item veto power Wednesday to trim $13.5 million from the budget, citing economic uncertainty nationally to conclude the state must keep permanent budget increases to a minimum.[9] Items the governor vetoed included:[10]

  • cut pay and benefit raises for State Police civilian employees by $1.05 million;
  • cut funding for expenses at the Racing Commission nearly in half, by $696,800;
  • all $510,000 budgeted for equipment at the state Contractor Licensing Board;
  • reducing revenues from the lottery for the Development Office by $410,000.

The budget bill as enacted can be found online. Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Legislative budget

The state Senate approved the $11.6 billion spending plan on a 34-0 vote while the [[West Virginia House of Delegates|House] voted 85-15 to approve the budget on March 16, 2011. The budget increases spending 2 percent over the FY2012 budget.[11] The legislative budget increased the the Medicaid Trust Fund by $170 million more than FY2012, which is $14 million more than the governor had requested.[12]

Governor's proposed budget

The govern proposed FY2013 state budget general fund of $4.55 billion, an increase of $15 million over FY2013. The proposed budget does not include any tax increases, and goes forward with about $80 million of previously approved tax cuts, including a $50 million reduction in state sales tax collections on food.[13] [14]

The budget does not include pay raises for state employees.[15]


The governor's proposed budget relies on tax collections of $4.1 billion. It also relies on surplus and lottery proceeds to boost revenue.[15]


The share of the budget for Medicaid will rise $111 million to $500 million due to a decline in federal Medicaid funds from a 4-to-1 to a 3-to-1 match of state dollars, and federal health-care mandates that will add 170,000 individuals to the program.[13] The 2013-2014 state budget will require $650 million for Medicaid.[16]

State Budget Office director Mike McKown said in Jan. 2011 that if lawmakers keep everything at current levels and funded all programs the way they were at the start of 2012, the 2013 state budget would be about $225 million short. The $225 million deficit is primarily due to rising enrollment in and costs for Medicaid. The governor's administration said that raising taxes to close the gap is not an option but it would consider tapping into the $800 million-plus rainy day fund.[17]

FY2012 State Budget

Better than expected tax revenues through FY2011 means a brighter revenue picture for the FY2012 budget, and a potential surplus to keep it balanced, meaning that the state could avoid raiding emergency reserves or making such painful choices as program cuts, tax hikes and public worker layoffs.[18]

A conference committee composed of members from both the House of Delegates and Senate hammered out the differences between the budget bills passed by both chambers, and developed a budget that they said did not vary greatly from the governor's proposed budget. [19] The legislature passed its budget bill on March 18, 2011.[20]

The budget passed by the legislature uses a general revenue estimate of $4.014 billion, which is $1.5 million less than what was initially introduced by acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, but up by about $270 million from FY2011.[20]

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $100 million to casinos who plan to use the money to buy slot machines[20]
  • $40 million increase in motor vehicle fees[20]
  • pay raises for state employees
  • pay hikes for mine inspectors, although it did not include inspectors for Marcellus shale which had been requested by the governor
  • increased funding for public libraries, increased funding for the needs-based higher education grant program
  • a fully funded public employee retirement fund, with $426 million going toward unfunded liabilities

Budget transparency

West Virginia currently has limited transparency. The West Virginia legislature website posts information about state grant awards here, but unfortunately "The Budget & Spending Transparency Act," which would have created greater spending transparency, did not pass during the 2009 legislative session. However, in state legislator Kelli Sobonya's own words, "I will reintroduce this bill [The Budget & Spending Transparency Act] again next session for consideration."[21]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Transparency West Virginia[22]
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
See also: Evaluation of West Virginia state website

Independent transparency sites

West Virginia University students compiled a report finding that the state is a "laggard" in the area of budget transparency and making recommendations for increased transparency, including, "All agencies, boards and commissions should make their budget requests and presentations available online. There should be common standards for agency disclosures across state government to make sure that information is available to the public in an easy-to-find manner. Setting online public disclosure standards that match those of other states with high marks for transparency and accountability."[23]

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Wisconsin, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.[24][25]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[26][27]

Budget background

West Virginia's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year. Agency budget requests are submitted by September, after which the Governor compiles his recommendation for the new fiscal year. Officials revenue estimates are completed by November prior to the Governor's final budget recommendations. Governor submits the budget the second Wednesday in January to the Legislature who proceed to hold a series of hearings from January through March.; in a year following a gubernatorial election, the date is extended to the second Wednesday in February.[28][29]

Accounting principles

See also: West Virginia government accounting principles

The West Virginia State Auditor's Office is responsible for examining state and local governments and school boards as well as paying all the state's bills.

Credit Ratings

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
West Virginia AA+[30] Aa3 AA[31]


West Virginia received $1.61 billion in federal stimulus spending between February 2009 and June 2013.[32]

Public Employees

See also: West Virginia public employee salaries
See also: West Virginia public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of West Virginia employed a total of 48,334 people. Of those employees, 36,210 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $131.0 million per month and 12,124 were part-time employees paid $10.8 million per month. [33]

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Beckley Register Herald "Tomblin signs new state budget" March 22, 2012
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
  3. Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  4. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  5. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  6. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  7. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  8. The Charleston Gazette "W.Va. higher ed seeks exemption from budget cuts" Aug. 10, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Beckley Register Herald "Tomblin signs new state budget" March 22, 2012
  10. "W.Va. gov vetoes $13M from new $11B state budget" March 22, 2012
  11. WV MetroNews "Lawmakers Approve State Budget" March 16, 2012
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named approve
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Charleston Gazette "Soaring Medicaid costs the '800-pound gorilla' in state budget' Jan. 11, 2012
  14. State of the State Address Jan. 11, 2012
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Charleston Daily Mail "Tomblin's budget doesn’t include pay raises, prison" Jan. 11, 2012
  16. MetroNews "State Budget Work Begins In Earnest" Feb. 13, 2012
  17. The Daily Mail "Lawmakers Approve State Budget " Jan. 6, 2011
  18. Bloomberg "Halfway through budget year, W.Va. revenues strong" Jan. 4, 2011
  19. "State Budget Steps Closer to Completion" March 18, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 West Virginia MetroNews "Lawmakers Pass $11.4 Billion Budget" March 18, 2011
  21. West Virginia Republican Party, "Delegate Sobonya's guest editorial submitted to herald dispatch/wayne co. news," June 17, 2009
  22. TransparencyWV
  23. Accountability and Transparency in the West Virginia Budget Process: Moving West Virginia from Laggard to Pace Setter Sept. 2010
  24. Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  25. University of Illinois Transparency Profile for West Virginia
  26. University of Illinois 50 State Transparency Comparison
  27. [ University of Illinois State Transparency Profiles
  28. State of Virginia, "Budget Process," retrieved April 8, 2009
  29. National Association of Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States," 2008
  30. Governor Tomblin Announcings Fitch Affirms West Virginia Bond Rating. Accessed September 17, 2013
  31. Pew Stateline Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001–2012. Accessed September 17, 2013
  32. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  33. 2008 West Virginia Public Employment U.S. Census Data