CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A labor leader in West Virginia said state Senate President Jeff Kessler can count on his support for the proposed West Virginia Future Fund during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.
“I’ll be a travesty if we miss the opportunity not to have the discussion and put some kind of constitutionally approved legacy fund in place,” said West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue.
He was part of the West Virginia delegation that traveled to Bismarck, N.D., last month to learn about the North Dakota Legacy Fund. It has been funded by oil and gas tax revenues since its creation in 2011 and reached $1 billion within 20 months.
For several years, Kessler (D-Marshall) has proposed a similar fund for the Mountain State.
He has been an advocate for setting a baseline for severance tax collections and then taking between 20 percent and 25 percent of any amount over that baseline, in the coming years, for an endowment that could not be tapped into for at least 20 years.
Kessler argued, throughout history, West Virginia has not been good at saving revenues generated because of the state’s natural resources.
Perdue agreed. “If we don’t (save), we’re failing ourselves again,” he said. “We’ve got to have some money (for the future) and that’s a resource we can do and I think we need to protect the money we have coming in from that (gas development).”
Next year’s session begins in January.