As one of the least economically diverse states in the nation, West Virginia relies heavily on its natural resources for revenue. Funds from these resources fluctuate and, one day, will be gone. As the Marcellus “Gold Rush” comes to West Virginia, it is time for policymakers to consider establishing a permanent mineral trust fund in West Virginia, similar to what six other states have done.
On February 13, 2012 Executive Director Ted Boettner presented at the Annual Conference of the West Virginia Association of Counties on the benefits of an economic diversification fund in West Virginia. Such a fund would provide revenue for the state during times of economic slowdown which can especially hard-hitting to local and county governments and school systems.
This policy memo is a comparison of how West Virginia and Wyoming tax their mineral resources. While there are similarities, there are also many differences. This paper continues the discussion of how states which are reliant on extractive industries can make policy decisions, like the creation of a permanent mineral trust fund, and how those decisions can impact state budgets for years to come.