West Virginia Lawmakers Visit North Dakota - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia Lawmakers Visit North Dakota

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The oil boom has brought in people from all over the country who are looking for work, but now it's even bringing in lawmakers from other states who want to know how we do it.

"If you look at all the rankings we're maybe perhaps the poorest state in the union. We're always in 49th/50th per capita. We've produced more energy, more coal, we've got less money and less opportunity for the people of our state. So, I've always been interested in looking at other states that are doing it well," says Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Kessler.

What Kessler and the other West Virginia lawmakers want to know is how North Dakota created a successful legacy fund for our state's future.

"If there's one point that I would want to make it is the importance of a bipartisan group working on this. You're not going to get it done, I don't think, if you make it a political fight," says Sen. Dwight Cook.

Senator Connie Triplett, who was part of the push to get the legacy fund put on the ballot, agreed but said it didn't some with out some initial resistance.

"I think there was concern that the first one maybe was trying to put a little too much money away and the major opponents were the education community across the state who thought that they needed current money for education. In terms of increasing teacher salaries and that sort of thing," says Triplett.

Kessler says it's a lesson they can take away, as they try and implement what they are calling a West Virginia Futures Fund in their state.

"There's a balance between how much you can save and how much should you spend out of this new source of revenue. But historically we've spent it all and that's not lead to a good result for out state," says Kessler.

He says he's tried to do this for the last couple years and hopes this trip will help his colleagues understand how the fund could help the state.

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