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Future Fund bill moves on to House of Delegates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill that would put away any extra money the state gets from oil and natural gas severance taxes passed the state Senate unanimously Friday.

The West Virginia Future Fund would be established beginning July 1, 2014 and take 25 percent of the annual revenues in excess of $75 million from the severances taxes would be deposited in the fund.

Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor, told the Senate Friday the governor’s revenue projections show the Future Fund would not impact budgets this year or next year.

“We may exceed the 175 million dollar cap in (budget year) 2015-16,” Taylor said.

The bill says the money in the fund can’t be touched until 2020, only the investment income can be appropriated and the money can only be used for economic development, infrastructure and education enhancement. The state Investment Management Board would handle the investments.

The Future Fund is the idea of Senate President Jeff Kessler who has said the state needs to be saving some of the money from the Marcellus Shale drilling. Kessler and some other senators visited North Dakota last year to see how a similar fund operates in that state.

The bill that passed Friday heads to the House of Delegates for consideration.

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