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‘Future Fund’ Good Idea, But ...

September 11, 2013
By BILL MALONEY , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

From my experience as the first president of the Greater Morgantown Community Trust, I know firsthand that permanent endowments work. Thus the "Future Fund" currently being considered in West Virginia is a good idea.

It was worthwhile to see a legislative trip to North Dakota learn more about their successful legacy fund. We hope the delegation looked around while they were there to see what else North Dakota is doing. They have the same basic 5 percent severance tax on minerals, but that's where the similarities end.

CNBC overall business rankings have North Dakota at No. 5 - while West Virginia is No.48. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform ranks North Dakota's lawsuit climate eighth, while West Virginia is 50th.

North Dakota is also a right-to- work state that has fair and concise gas and oil pooling and unitization statutes. A thorough comparison of all states with permanent endowments funded by severance tax proceeds is in the table at right.

If we truly want to maximize the value of our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, first let's fix some of our basic structural problems like the tax code, courts and labor climate so the Future Fund and more important, the West Virginia economy can really thrive!

Maloney is the president of the Center for a Brighter Future Inc. and the principal of Cow Run Energy LLC and Drill Leader LLC. He is a founder of many West Virginia companies, including North American Drillers, Inc. He used his expertise to rescue 33 Chilean miners in 2010 and was the Republican candidate for governor of West Virginia in both 2011 and 2012.

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