Charleston, W.Va. – Due to several years of increased efficiency and cost saving measures, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office has returned $3 million in special revenue funds to the West Virginia State Treasury.
This announcement comes even as state agencies are being asked to make across the board budget cuts.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said the office was able to return such a large amount because of several factors:
- Special revenue from corporate filing fees has been increasing over the past several years. Secretary Tennant said this is primarily because of close cooperation with the Purchasing Division requiring all potential vendors for contracts over $25,000 to register with the Secretary of State’s Office.
- The Secretary of State’s Office since 2009 has instituted a number of measures that have resulted in significant saving of taxpayer money. These measures include sending postcards instead of letters reminding various organizations of filing deadlines, sending daily electronic notifications instead of masses of letters to other state agencies regarding dissolution requests, and eliminating paper copies of the Monthly Corporations Report. These and other efficiency measures have resulted in savings of more than $100,000 annually.
- The Business and Licensing Division instituted procedures regarding refund checks which have saved the Secretary of State’s Office an estimated $45 per refund request.
- The Secretary of State’s Office was a defendant in two separate lawsuits that have worked their way through the courts over the last several years, dating back to previous Secretaries. This office anticipated paying as much as $2.5 million in legal fees associated with those lawsuits and budgeted accordingly. However, the legal staff of the Secretary of State’s Office as well as the Attorney General’s Office has worked diligently to arrive at settlements that were considerably lower than what was anticipated.
Secretary Tennant notified state leaders including Governor Tomblin, Cabinet Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss, Senate President Kessler, House Speaker Miley, and the chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees of her intention of returning the taxpayer money last week.
“We work hard every day in the Secretary of State’s Office to make sure we are providing vital services to business owners, voters, candidates, and other state agencies in the most cost-efficient manner possible,” Secretary Tennant said. “We were able to return this amount while at the same time lowering late filing fees on businesses. We have also worked with the State Tax Department to make it easier for business owners to fill out all of their paperwork here in the Secretary of State’s Office. These are good, commonsense, fiscally responsible measures that have resulted in significant savings for the taxpayers of West Virginia. We aren’t spending a penny on meaningless or wasteful programs.”
Secretary Tennant has requested fund classification to which the $3 million should be transferred.