Although the state was able to finish the fiscal year in the black, a member of Governor Tomblin’s cabinet say a hiring freeze will continue indefinitely.
Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss made the statement on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, referring to a freeze Tomblin implemented in January. The action saved the state an estimated $33 million in the second half of the fiscal year.
Kiss said the freeze combined with a one-time appropriation from the legislature is what kept West Virginia from finishing the year in the red.
The allocation of $70 million in state general revenue funds was taken from the Tax Reduction and Federal Funds Income Compliance, or TRAFFIC, account. Tomblin staffers equate it to a legislative savings account.
As of now, Kiss said the state is starting the 2015 budget cycle with a $3 million general revenue surplus. He estimated that could grow by as much as $10 million by the end of the month from funds state agencies didn’t spend before the end of the fiscal year.
Excess lottery revenues will also be calculated at the end of July. Those additional dollars, Kiss said, could mean the state is starting the new budget year with a total surplus in the $40 million range.
He warned, however, projections show this year will be as fiscally tight as the previous two, if not worse.