CHARLESTON, W.V. – Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) announced today that as a result of legislation establishing a job creation task force, a Senate-House delegation will be heading to North Dakota this summer to learn more about its legacy fund.
The North Dakota Legacy Fund was created in 2011 and is funded by oil and gas tax revenue; it reached the $1 billion milestone in only 20 months.
Senate President Kessler has proposed a similar fund for the Mountain State, the West Virginia Future Fund. President Kessler says he has worked hard over the past three years to develop this significant investment in our state’s financial future and looks forward to working with House leadership to pass legislation.
“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,” says Kessler. “A permanent endowment future fund will create real wealth and opportunity that will last long after the natural gas is gone.”
House Speaker Tim Miley says the job creation workgroup legislation was adopted for precisely this kind of visit.
“West Virginia lawmakers can be much more proactive in reaching out to other states and learning from their economic development efforts,” says Miley. “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. I am very interested in what the state’s experience can teach us.”
House Bill 3013 authorizes the Senate President and House Speaker to appoint job creation workgroups that can work independently or in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, the West Virginia Development Office, or other executive office or agency of the state, to obtain information to assist the Legislature’s efforts to take effective action to increase and attract jobs in West Virginia.
Member of the delegation will be named at a later date. The trip is tentatively scheduled for later this summer.