WV Legislature to visit North Dakota to study future fund - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV Legislature to visit North Dakota to study future fund

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Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, is so committed to bringing a future fund to West Virginia, he's taking a study on the road to look at something similar in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Legacy Fund was created in 2011, according to information from Kessler's office, and it is funded by oil and gas tax revenue. The fund reached $1 billion 20 months after its inception.

Kessler has proposed a similar fund for the Mountain State and has been talking about it for the past three years.

"If we can create the fund and begin investing in it now, it will send a powerful message to Wall Street that West Virginia, during these tough economic times, is not only balancing its budget but also saving for the future," Kessler said in a news release. "A permanent endowment future fund will create real wealth and opportunity that will last long after the natural gas is gone."

A House-Senate delegation will take the trip as a result of House Bill 3013, which sets up a job creation task force. House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the legislation was adopted specifically for this type of study.

"West Virginia lawmakers can be much more proactive in reaching out to other states and learning from their economic development efforts," Miley said in a news release. "The concept of such a future fund holds tremendous potential, as well as other successes that North Dakota has experienced in managing their energy resources."

Members of the delegation will be named at a later date. The legislation authorizes the Senate President and House Speaker to appoint job creation workgroups to work independently and also in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, West Virginia Development Office and other executive offices and agencies in the state.