The West Virginia oil and natural gas industry has been identified by some as a source to fund annual cost increases of $50 million for the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
In a recent commentary, Jay O’Neal, treasurer of the Kanawha County chapter of the West Virginia Education Association, wrote “there is plenty of money available to PEIA without hurting working West Virginians. It’s just a matter of priorities.”
Mr. O’Neal advocates an increase in the natural gas severance tax as a source to fund PEIA, as he believes revenue from the resource will continue to increase. Contrary to Mr. O’Neal’s statement, an increase in the natural gas severance tax would be certain to hurt working West Virginians, as well as the state itself.