CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Although the nine-county water crisis poses hardships for affected communities and individuals, the overall impact on the state economy and tax collections should be minimal, Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said Wednesday.
"I expect the overall fiscal impact to be fairly modest," Muchow said. "It was a great inconvenience for a lot of people and businesses, but on the state side, economically and fiscally, it's not too big an impact."
Muchow said the water crisis did not shut down the economy in the region, but shifted spending and payroll to different locations.
"We're not spending less money, we're just spending it in different ways," he said.
He said the water company's do not use order clearly had a severe impact on restaurant, lodging, and other hospitality businesses in Charleston and other affected communities, but also proved to be a boon in neighboring cities and towns that had clean water.
Businesses in St. Albans, Barboursville, Huntington and Beckley thrived, as people in the affected counties traveled to those locations for meals, lodging, laundry, dry cleaning and other services, Muchow said.
Huntington and Barboursville also benefited from an unrelated water system issue in eastern Kentucky that left thousands without water for several days, he said.
"The impact to the local economies in the affected zones is very significant, but the impact statewide is a whole lot less, because there's a lot of shifting going on, where folks are buying at alternative locations," he said.