CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State budget director Mike McKown urged legislators Tuesday to help replenish a fund used to pay state income tax refunds in a timely manner -- after the fund was emptied in June to help balance the 2012-13 budget.
For several years, the Income Tax Refund Reserve Fund has kept a balance of $45 million, but McKown told the Council of Finance and Administration the account was drained to help close a $91 million revenue shortfall in the past fiscal year's budget.
"Hopefully, we can build that back up," he said. "That is a very important fund."
The fund was set up in 1990, following several years in the 1980s when taxpayers had to wait months for their refund checks, because of state budget deficits.
In addition to raiding that fund, the Tomblin administration imposed $28 million of midyear budget cuts and transferred $17.7 million from the Medicaid reserve fund to balance the 2012-13 budget.
"It's a time of no growth in general revenue," McKown said.
Key culprits for the year were severance tax collections, which came in $51.8 million, or 11 percent, below estimates. Also, corporate net taxes fell $10.57 million, or 4 percent, below projections.
Personal income tax collections for the year came in at $1.74 billion, or 1 percent above estimates.