Jeff Kessler focuses on wealth creation for future generations in 2011 gubernatorial campaign
Acting Senate President and Democratic Candidate for Governor Jeff Kessler (D -- Marshall) unveiled the West Virginia Future Fund while surrounded by preschool students this morning at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling.
Acting Senate President Kessler was the first candidate to put forward a plan to save money for the future from the proceeds of drilling in the Marcellus shale.
"This money pouring into our state can help us have a break out decade," Kessler stated. This opportunity is like the coal boom that West Virginia enjoyed during the early 1900s. But instead of sending that wealth out of state -- like we did in the past -- let's do something for everyone's future -- right here in West Virginia."
The Future Fund is a 25% endowment fund on the severance tax collected from drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale. The savings account will collect interest for twenty years. Upon maturity, Future Fund earnings will go to economic development, education system enhancement and even tax relief for West Virginians.
Each child received a pink piggy bank from Senator Kessler to illustrate that today's younger generations will be the ones to benefit from the Future Fund.
"Developing jobs and creating wealth is a great way to keep our young people from leaving the State," said Kessler, who has four children who range in age from 21 to 2.
Kessler sponsored Senate Bill 491, creating the West Virginia Future Fund, during the 2011 legislative session, along with Senators John Unger (D -- Berkeley), Richard Browning (D -- Wyoming), Brooks McCabe (D -- Kanawha), Robert Plymale (D - Wayne), Orphy Klempa (D - Ohio), Jack Yost (D - Brooke), and Joe Minard (D - Harrison).
The proposed Future Fund is similar to Alaska's Permanent Fund, where every eligible man, woman, and child receives an annual check for being a state resident.