What should be done with the nation’s new oil and gas riches?
One answer rapidly gaining popularity: Set some aside for future generations.
North Dakota voters created a Legacy Fund in 2010 and the state expects to have $1.3 billion tucked away by June 30. Utah voters approved a constitutional amendment Nov. 6 to require up to half of new energy revenue be set aside in the future. West Virginia legislators are considering a Future Fund to divert energy revenue into a trust fund. And the idea has been raised in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
The Alaska Permanent Fund, which pays cash dividends to residents every year, is the most famous example of a giant savings account built from energy taxes and royalties. Created in 1975, it now has $42 billion.