CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin imposed a temporary hiring freeze on state agencies Tuesday, citing a continued slowdown in tax collections.
The freeze is effective immediately and will remain in effect through June 30, unless rescinded. It bars government agencies from filling job vacancies, or positions that become vacant, during the period.
Through February, tax revenues were running $45 million below estimates, primarily because of a slowdown in sales tax, income tax and severance tax collections.
"It is important that we reinforce prudent and sound financial management policies in order to avoid any budgetary shortfalls at the end of the current fiscal year," Tomblin said in a memo to department heads Tuesday.
In a statement, Tomblin said the hiring freeze will ensure that key government services continue, while also ensuring state finances will remain in order when the 2012-13 budget year ends June 30.
The freeze applies to job vacancies only, and will not result in layoffs or furloughs, Tomblin said.
Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said there has been no sharp downturn in revenue collections so far this month but said the governor's order was based on ongoing slowdowns in tax collections.