West Virginia Public Broadcasting – On this West Virginia Morning, higher coal and natural gas prices, alongside higher demand for both fossil fuels, generated a severance tax windfall that fattened the state’s budget surplus last year. But the prices for both fossil fuels have declined in recent months.
Listen to the full segment.
Sean O’Leary, senior policy analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said the state could find itself with a shortfall instead of a surplus in the coming years. He spoke with energy and environment reporter Curtis Tate about the volatility of the severance tax.
How the state determines its revenue estimates itself is also a subject of debate. West Virginia’s annual budget is based on estimates that come from the governor’s office, with the current surplus coming from taxes collected above those estimates. Government reporter Randy Yohe has more on how those estimated amounts garner differing points of view of how they should be determined.