Gov. Jim Justice says state government is looking at a projected budget deficit of $500 million in the next fiscal year.
The current cuts have already eliminated state jobs, including those in education, police, fire and ambulance service.

Former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin made several budget cuts during his last year in office.

Justice says the funding gap will increase again the following year, up to $700 million.

The state’s money coffers for nearly a century relied on coal and other extractables, with most current politicians having run on restoring coal production in the Mountain State.

Coal production has been declining for over 30 years, due to mechanization, coal quality, declining coal seams and environmental rules.

Tomblin had proposed raising the state’s consumer sales tax 1 percent and imposed a 2 percent half-year spending cut under this year’s $4.1 billion budget.

Many Republicans ran on “no new taxes.”