By Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Gov. Jim Justice’s administration has asked state agencies to prepare for a possible $100 million mid-fiscal-year budget cut and get ready for budget cuts for next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, West Virginia public colleges need more money to repair and maintain buildings and grounds, the state’s higher education oversight agencies say.
And the state School Building Authority, which helps fund prekindergarten-12th-grade school construction and repair, is saying new schools are increasingly expensive.
Brian Abraham, Justice’s general counsel and chairman of the SBA board, stressed the mid-fiscal-year cut isn’t guaranteed to happen.
“Those scenarios are still being played out, so all there is now is planning — and prudent planning,” Abraham said. “You don’t just go on gleefully unaware and run into a brick wall.”
State revenue has come in $33 million lower than expected a third of the way into this fiscal year, which began July 1.
Fossil fuel severance tax revenue is continuing to fall after Justice and the state Legislature agreed to cut severance taxes, and as the coal industry declines and temporary revenue-boosting natural gas pipeline projects are completed.
Education, particularly higher education, has been targeted in past budget cuts.