Blog Posts > Manufactured Revenue Comes at Cost of Services (Opinion)
June 28, 2023

Manufactured Revenue Comes at Cost of Services (Opinion)

Charleston Gazette-Mail – For West Virginia to thrive, we need great schools, safe communities and quality infrastructure. With the end of the state’s fiscal year upon us, the upcoming days will undoubtedly be inundated with news releases and news coverage of West Virginia’s revenue surplus. Unfortunately, rather than the surplus signaling a thriving economy, it is more the result of Gov. Jim Justice’s administration intentionally underestimating how much revenue the state would bring in this year and, by extension, underfunding public services across the state.

Read the full op-ed.

The consequences of that underfunding can be seen everywhere. Rather than using these taxpayer funds to strengthen our schools and public services, chronic underfunding has contributed to West Virginia University’s budget crisis, the struggles facing our volunteer fire departments and Emergency Medical Services, the state of emergency in our correctional facilities and thousands of families losing their child care assistance last fall.

In West Virginia, the governor has the sole authority to control the size of the budget through a very unique revenue estimate process. Because our state constitution allows the governor alone to estimate how much revenue is expected in a particular year, he also controls the size of the annual state budget, since states must enact balanced budgets. Lawmakers cannot exceed the top-line number they are given, unless they raise taxes.

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