Charleston Gazette – Is it really a “Future Fund” if there’s no funding in it? Read full editorial.
That was a question Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward Jr. asked Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, earlier this week on our Mountain State Morning podcast.
Boettner’s agency had pushed for the idea, which was signed into law in 2014 by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, as a way of protecting the Mountain State from the “boom and bust” nature of extraction industries. Boettner and many others don’t want to see the state suffer from the eventual bottoming out of the natural gas industry, whenever that might occur, the way it has suffered since the coal industry has declined.
The Future Fund would take 3 percent of all tax revenue from oil, natural gas, mineral and timber industries to finance things like infrastructure improvements or even pay raises for teachers. The bill’s main sponsor at the time, then-Democratic Sen. Jeff Kessler, touted it as a way to break the cycle of poverty in the state.
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