Although West Virginia has maintained its bond ratings, paid into employee retirement funds and avoided layoffs and furloughs in recent years, budget officials told lawmakers Wednesday the state is still in "lean times."
The state emptied its $45 million income tax reserve fund and cut $17 million from Medicaid earlier this year to finish the 2013 fiscal year with a balanced budget, as is required by the state constitution.
The income tax reserve had grown from $17.5 million in 1990 to grown to more than $45 million last year.
"We'd like to see that rebanked and refunded back to those levels," state budget director Mike McKown said. "But in these times, it'll be hard to do."
A drop in coal and natural gas severance taxes, which fell $58.2 million from 2012, drove most of that shortfall. The state's consumer sales tax collections also came in $22.7 million under 2012 collection, and lottery revenues fell $35 million.
Speaking to lawmakers at an interim meeting on Wednesday, McKown said the state finished the fiscal year with $11.6 million in unspent appropriations.
More than $5.75 million was dumped into the state's Rainy Day Fund, leaving $6.3 million available to state agencies.
"In past years, that number's been $150 million, $180 million dollars. Really lean times here," he said.