CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Jeff Kessler says saving some of the additional tax money generated through the natural gas boom for the future is the “right thing to do.”

“I’m tired of the boom and bust cycle we have in the energy sector in our state.  It’s time to create real wealth, real opportunity for the people of our state,” said Senator Kessler (D-Marshall).

Later this summer, Kessler will lead a delegation of state Senate and state House members to North Dakota to see, first hand, how that state’s legacy fund has worked.

Oil and gas tax revenues go into the North Dakota Legacy Fund which was created in 2011 and now stands at more than $1 billion.

Kessler has proposed the creation of a similar West Virginia Future Fund for several years now at the State House and pointed to states like North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming as examples of how it would work.

His proposal would set a baseline for severance tax collections and then take between 20 percent and 25 percent of any amount over that baseline, in the coming years, and automatically bank that money for an endowment that could not be tapped into for at least 20 years.

Kessler said he understands there are plenty of ways to spend additional oil and gas tax money from the development of drilling in the Marcellus shale right now.

“You can have short term needs, but there’s long term goals.  I think we need to do both and you can,” said Kessler.

No dates have yet been scheduled for the North Dakota trip for lawmakers.

Kessler was a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which is broadcasting from The Greenbrier Resort this week for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic.

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  • Big John

    Another waste of taxpayers money-Is the entire legislature going on this vacation? Will they receive compensation as legislative work while they are on a free vacation paid for by our taxes.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    I have to agree with the other commenters. The legislature HAS to determine how to fix these Marcellus shale-destroyed roads. Otherwise, we all might as well drive tanks.

  • Jt

    Maybe they should take a trip on Route 50 from Salem to Ellenboro and start a fund for road repair!

    • Jeremy Bauserman

      The Governor's blue ribbon commission is proposing several tax increases of various kinds and Senator Kessler wants to lock away some funds we can't spend for 20 years? I disagree with him on this.

  • coach

    The state is not even breaking even as of now. All revenues are down including severance taxes, gamining etc. How in the world does he propose we pay our bills now? I am all for cutting Government, but, if I am not mistaken, I believe WVDOH needs $600 million to just maintain current road system much less construct any new highways. I am sure his plan will include raising taxes somewhere down the line - either on the industry that is one that has been providing good paying jobs to our citizens and eventually drive them across the borders to drill in Ohio and PA where taxes don't compare to here in good ole WV or on the rest of the citizenry. Food tax will probably be back before you can blink.

    • Magic Mike

      Did you think the roads would be kept up once Byrd died? You had to know that would not happen.

  • RHytonen

    Also please assess whatit WILL cost to repace our roads used, and the entire town infrastructures under them; AND to clean up ALL those abandoned poison cancer ponds.

    And will they pay enough (no "interest" accounting tricks!) restore the entire aquifer poisoned by seepage?

    And compensate those who contract cancer? How do you compensate a family that loses a child or a breadwinner?