Local delegate studying possible future fund

Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, is serving on the Legislature’s first Jobs Creation Task Force, which will travel to North Dakota this week to learn more about an innovative future fund drawn from the oil and gas industry.

“I am honored to be a part of this effort and look forward to getting to work,” Hamilton said. “I am always interested in ways the state of West Virginia can more responsibly manage tax dollars and at the same time boost the economy.”

House Speaker Tim Miley asked Hamilton and eight other delegates to serve on the Jobs Creation Task Force along with nine state senators. The group will travel to North Dakota today, Wednesday, Aug. 21, for in-depth meetings on the creation of that state’s future fund.

Created in 2011, the North Dakota Legacy Fund is generated from oil and gas tax revenue and reached the $1 billion milestone in only 20 months.

The task force will consider whether a similar fund for West Virginia would be feasible, in particular in light of the state’s expanding Marcellus Shale gas industry, and how that could positively affect the state’s infrastructure and economy.

“I am eager to find out as much as I can about what North Dakota has accomplished by establishing this fund and bringing my observations back to the Mountain State,” Hamilton said

During the regular legislative session, the Legislature adopted House Bill 3013, which authorizes the Senate president and House speaker to appoint job creation workgroups to travel to different regions to examine the various tactics local and state governments have used to attract businesses.

“West Virginia lawmakers can be much more proactive in reaching out to other states and learning from their economic development efforts,” Miley said in announcing the trip. “The concept of such a future fund holds tremendous potential, and I am very interested in what North Dakota’s experience can teach us.”