Increase in personal income tax: more than 5%
Expenditure per capita (2008): $4,648 (18th highest)
2009 budget shortfall: N/A
Home price decline from peak: 4.5% (9th smallest)
West Virginia is different from the other states that increased revenue from taxes. While budget gaps were among the worst for five of the six states, deficits have remained low in West Virginia. In 2010, the worst year for state deficits across the country, the state’s budget shortfall was only 8.2% of general funds, the seventh-smallest gap in the country.
This relatively modest deficit is likely the result of how well the state weathered the recession. In 2009, unemployment was only 7.7%, much lower than the national average. Similarly, home values fell just 4.5% from their peak, the ninth-lowest decline in the country. Meanwhile, GDP grew 16.8% from 2006 to 2010 and median household income increased 9% between 2006 and 2010, the eighth- and third-highest increases in the country, respectively. While the state has done well, it elected to make increases to personal income and cigarette tax rates by more than 5% between 2009 and 2011. This decision, coupled with strong economic performance throughout the recession, helped the state increase revenues from taxes over 9%. According to a report from the Center for Budget Policy Priorities, the state made no spending cuts to the five major categories by its fiscal year 2011. (AP Photo) More From 24/7 Wall St.: America’s Disappearing Restaurant Chains American Cities Where Manufacturing Is Booming States Where Seniors Cannot Afford to Live The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.