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W.Va. tax revenues still ahead of projections

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State tax collections soldiered on slightly ahead of projections in November, despite downturns in severance tax collections and state Lottery profits, the deputy revenue secretary said Monday.

"The economy's moving forward, but it's remaining sluggish, with the headwinds of the energy sector weighing a little bit, along with competition in the gaming sector," Mark Muchow said.

Overall, general revenue tax collections came in at $266.7 million for the month, about $2.8 million above estimates.

Since the start of the budget year on July 1, total tax collections are at $1.6 billion, which is about $2 million (0.1 percent) above estimates, he said.

Muchow said year-to-date severance tax collections are running about $20 million (20 percent) below projections, hit by a double-whammy of decreased coal production and a drop in natural gas prices.

Lottery transfers year-to-date are at $92.6 million, down from $127 million at the same point in 2011, as competition from casinos in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland are hurting business at West Virginia's racetrack casinos.

However, Muchow said corporate net taxes are running $13.8 million above estimates, and nearly 29 percent ahead of last year, while sales tax collections are running $3.2 million ahead of projections year-to-date.

Sales tax collections are down 1 percent from the same point in the 2011-12 budget year, attributable to the reduction to the sales tax on food to 1 percent, effective this past July 1.

Muchow said Christmas shopping is not reflected in the November sales tax figures. Holiday shopping will show up in the December and January tax collections, he said.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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