West Virginia ended its 2018 fiscal year with a budget surplus of almost $30 million, according to Governor Jim Justice. Next, the governor said he’ll look to improving the state’s higher education system.
The governor said Monday in a press conference, 2012 was the last time West Virginia ended a year with a surplus without mid-year cuts.
He said tax revenues were up across the board this past fiscal year, including both income and coal severance taxes. Justice also noted companies are doing well and generating increased income for the state. He also said construction jobs had increased significantly.
Following the revenue update, the conversation shifted onto higher education.
Justice announced the creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education – intended to study all of the state’s four-year institutions and figure out what’s working and what’s not. The commission will review things like redundant programs, and look at how to help the schools thrive in the most efficient way.
The governor said there are several schools in the state on, “the brink of closure.”
“I don’t want us to lose those institutions in those communities," he said, "because those institutions are vital to those communities, and those schools need to thrive and move forward.”
Co-chairs on the commission are Gordon Gee; President of West Virginia University, Kendra Boggess; President of Concord University, and Jerry Gilbert, President of Marshall University.