I’ve spoken to Senate President Jeff Kessler several times in the past about his idea for a “future fund,” a state-run trust fund built from Marcellus Shale natural gas tax revenues.
He introduced a bill this year (although it eventually died in committee) that would have set a baseline of natural gas excess tax revenue, then funnel 25 percent of any money over that baseline into a trust fund. Eventually, with enough money in the account, Kessler said West Virginia would begin to draw huge amounts of interest on that cash.
Kessler and other lawmakers now plan to take a trip to North Dakota and gather more information about that state’s future fund. Speaking on “Talkline” this morning, Kessler said North Dakota only started its trust fund in 2009 and already has $1.3 billion in the bank.
“I think it’s high time we look at putting a portion of those funds aside,” Kessler told “Talkline” host Hoppy Kercheval. “They had the foresight to put away money…to benefit the long-term future of the state.
“Let’s not spend it like a bunch of drunken sailors so 20, 30 years from now it’s all gone.”
In other news…
- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will reportedly host a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Manchin later this month. Bloomberg supports Manchin’s background check bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn. Although that bill has currently stalled on Capitol Hill, it hasn’t stopped organizations like the National Rifle Association from taking aim at Manchin.
- The Obama administration announced late Tuesday it would delay a portion of its Affordable Care Act, requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide workers with health insurance, until 2015. Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, called the move a “bombshell.”
- And, in case you missed it yesterday, state abortion providers responded to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey‘s request for information about their policies and procedures…although the responses are probably not what Morrisey had in mind.