BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) – Gov. Jim Justice says state government is looking at a projected budget deficit of $500 million in the next fiscal year.
The governor tells the Beckley Register-Herald the funding gap would increase again the following year.
The Tomblin administration, which estimated a $400 million shortfall for the year starting July 1, proposed raising the state’s consumer sales tax 1 percent and imposed a 2 percent half-year spending cut under this year’s $4.1 billion budget.
Justice will issue his plan when the Legislature convenes Feb. 8.
Addressing the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Justice says the state is in poor economic shape despite a few bright spots.
He proposed tiers for taxing coal and natural gas production, instead of flat 5 percent, that rises as market prices rise.