The State Road Fund ended the year with a $43.1 million surplus, driven by an 8 percent increase in automobile sales tax collections. While auto sales were up, state fuel tax collections were off about 3 percent, or $10.7 million, as compared to last year.
While consumers are buying more cars, officials worry that the higher fuel economy of those cars will eat into gas tax revenues in coming years.
The state Lottery ended the year with an $81.6 million surplus. McKown said that fund was aided by opening delays for several out-of-state casinos that will be significant competitors to this state's racetrack casinos.
The Lottery surplus will be available for lawmakers to appropriate during the next legislative session.
Overall, McKown said West Virginia is faring better than other states.
"We have a strong and growing rainy day fund, we pay our bills on time, our cash flow is pretty strong, and we don't have to borrow money to pay our everyday bills," he said.
McKown said the situation may change over the next few years.
"We certainly have some challenges looking at us in the upcoming year driven by Medicaid and the coal economy and what's happening there," he said.
He also said the uncertainty over the federal budget process - whether Congress will allow several automatic spending cuts to kick in at the end of the year, or if they will negotiate a deal to cut spending in other ways - makes it hard to predict how much money the state will have to chip in to keep some programs running.
McKown said he's been working with state agency leaders to begin the 2014 budget process. Most agencies have been asked to make 7.5 percent cuts to their proposed budgets so the state can continue funneling more money to the Medicaid program.
McKown said he believed those cuts would be enough for the governor to present a balanced budget to the Legislature next year.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.