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Future Fund Bill Advances

February 5, 2014

Charleston Daily Mail – A bill that would put a portion of oil and natural gas severance tax revenue in a special account for future use has passed its first hurdle in the Senate. Read

Senate Bill 461 creates the Future Fund and was introduced by Senate President Jeff Kessler last month. The measure was passed unanimously Wednesday by the Senate Economic Development Committee.

The account would be funded by depositing 25 percent of oil and natural gas severance tax revenues more than $175 million into the account. The interest received on the account can be spent on economic development projects, infrastructure and educational enhancement. But legislators will have to wait a while before they can appropriate any of that money.

“In order to build up the principal there is a delay rider in here that provides nothing shall be expended for a period of six years,” committee counsel said.

And after six years, the Future Fund account could be quite hefty. Ted Boettner, executive director for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said one state official had supplied some figures outlining expected severance taxes on oil and natural gas.