CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed legislation that saves a portion of West Virginia's severance tax on energy and extraction industries to finance infrastructure needs and teacher raises.
Tomblin signed the bill Thursday creating the so-called Future Fund by skimming 3 percent from all tax revenues on the oil, gas, mineral and timber industries.
The tax revenue can only be sent to savings if the state's main reserve — the Rainy Day Fund — is more than 13 percent of the general fund, the budget is balanced without use of the Rainy Day Fund, and there are no midyear hiring freezes.
Senate President Jeff Kessler is the bill's sponsor. He said the Future Fund can break the state's cycle of poverty by investing income from the state's prized resources.