WHEELING - It costs West Virginia's taxpayers $8,774,132 per day to pay salaries and benefits to state workers - an increase of about $296,334 from the daily rate one year before, according to a report compiled by West Virginia Auditor Glen Gainer.
In Wheeling on Monday, Gainer acknowledged the size of West Virginia's government is growing - but so are tax collections. He said severance tax, consumer sales tax and personal income tax collections are increasing - and this revenue represents 81 percent of tax collections in West Virginia.
"We're outpacing last year," he said. "Our tax collections in these three key areas are still very strong ... and all indications are that this will continue."
Photo by Joselyn King
Auditor Glen Gainer discusses the data compiled in his annual report to the West Virginia Legislature.
Gainer is required to submit a report to the West Virginia Legislature each year detailing the state's financial situation, and he believes the best way to explain the data to lawmakers and the public is to provide what he terms a "daily snapshot" of state government data relating to finances.
Each year, he chooses the date Dec. 31 to measure payroll costs and how many workers are employed by the state.
On Dec. 31, 2011, a total of 49,627 workers were on West Virginia's state payroll, according to Gainer, and the cost that day to pay their wages and benefits was $8,774,132.
He compared this to Dec. 31, 2010, when $8,477,798 was paid out to 48,995 workers on the state payroll. The difference is an additional $296,334 in costs, and 632 more workers.
The last payroll in 2011 - for the last two weeks of December - totalled $74,683,908. For same time period the year before, payroll was $72,355,224, according to Gainer. This represents an increase of $2,328,684.
He also compared tax collections for 2011 with those of 2010.
Already this year's tax revenues are outpacing last year's, according to Gainer. He credited activity in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry for helping to raise collections in all three areas - especially in the Northern Panhandle and North Central regions of the state.