CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia’s adjusted FY2019 General Revenue surplus total of $36.8 million will be used to provide a multimillion-dollar boost to both West Virginia’s Medicaid program and the state’s Rainy Day emergency reserve fund.
“We’ve worked really hard, lifting West Virginia’s economy out of 50th and turning it into one of the fastest-growing economies in the country,” Gov. Justice said. “This past year, we brought in hundreds of millions of dollars more than we ever dreamed of and I’m so proud that we’re using it to secure a better future for our people and our great state.”
The official surplus for FY2019 totaled $511 million above original budget estimates. This historical accomplishment marked the single greatest year of revenue growth in West Virginia history.
For perspective, the $511 million in revenue growth for FY2019 alone was more than one-and-a-half times the combined revenue growth in West Virginia for the entire decade from FY2007 to FY2017.
On top of all these record-setting accomplishments, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has repeatedly praised West Virginia’s economy as one of the fastest-growing of any state in the entire country for the first quarter of 2019. During that time, West Virginia has the #1 GDP growth rate in the nation and the #1 personal income growth rate in the nation.
Even after the Department of Revenue raised its budget estimates four times over the course of the year, the state still had another $36.8 million surplus left over.
State law requires that half of any surplus at the end of the fiscal year be transferred to the Rainy Day Fund. As such, $18.4 million was put toward further supplementing this emergency reserve. Rainy Day had already been bolstered by a $39 million supplemental appropriation, meaning that a combined total of $57.4 million has now been added to the Rainy Day Fund in just the past three months.
The other half of the surplus – another $18.4 million – was put into West Virginia’s Medicaid program, which provides quality healthcare services to 550,000 people every year.
“When I came in the door we were dead flat bankrupt. We were 50th in every category imaginable and we had a budget crisis every single year,” Gov. Justice said. “Now, my plan to bring our economy back to life is working, with the help of our state Senate, House, and many others. We’re #1 in the country in so many ways. Can you believe that, BEST IN ALL OF AMERICA. And I’m so proud that we are able to use this continued success to make life better for all of our hard-working people.”