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           2012 West Virginia Legislature

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Friday, February 10, 2012


Ambassador Sullivan Informs Policymakers About Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund
Panelists Discuss Important State Issues
Women’s Caucus Hears About State Budget
Correction to Medicaid Presentation

Ambassador Sullivan Informs Policymakers about Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund
On Tuesday, Ambassador Michael Sullivan, former Governor of Wyoming and Ambassador to Ireland, was the keynote speaker at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy’s Annual Meeting in Charleston. He spoke about how Wyoming’s Mineral Trust Fund has benefited his state, especially during slow economic times. He also appeared before the Senate Economic Development Committee and met with many legislators and Governor Tomblin. To hear more about what Ambassador Sullivan had to say, read the Charleston Gazette article or watch his interview with WV Public Broadcasting (about 10 minutes into the video).
Six states have Mineral Trust Funds which set aside revenue from taxes on extractive industries and put them in an interest-bearing fund. The money is used later when the industries reduce production or the state needs more revenue. Funds can only be used for particular purposes and with approval from either state legislators or voters, depending on how the fund is set up.
Two bills have been introduced in West Virginia this session that would enact such a fund. Yesterday SB 537 was introduced with Senate President Jeff Kessler as the lead sponsor. The bill would create a sustainable wealth fund by using severance tax from natural gas to fund economic diversification projects, education, workforce development, federal matching grants and higher education, starting in 2015.
On Tuesday, the Senate Econonic Development Committee took up SB 182 which would create a West Virginia Future Fund.
Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting to support our discussion on issues important to low- and moderate-income West Virginians!

Panelists Discuss Important State Issues
Annual Meeting attendees also heard about other issues including the state budget, children in poverty and West Virginia’s corrections system. Many thanks to Margie Hale, WV Kids Count and Reverand Matthew Watts with HOPE Community Development Corporation and our own Ted Boettner for participating and providing such valuable information to our attendees! For more information about their presentations or materials, email lframe@wvpolicy.org. Ted’s presentation is available here.
Women’s Caucus Hears About State Budget
Last week Paul Miller, Outreach Director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, was invited to present to the Legislative Women’s Caucus on the governor's FY 2013 budget. He spoke about the need to address budget deficits that are expected over the next several budget cycles and the need to connect the dots between finding revenues and paying for the various programs and policies important to many West Virginians. He also discussed the Center's latest report on the Economic Diversification Trust Fund and how nonrenewable natural resources such as coal, oil, and gas, can be turned into a source of renewable wealth for the future. Read more about the trust fund and the governor’s budget.

Correction to Medicaid Presentation
Last week’s Budget Beat stated that one in four children in West Virginia benefits from Medicaid. The correct number is one in two children are Medicaid beneficiaries and Medicaid helps half of the children in the state. We apologize for the error.

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West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
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