Port: It’s time to stop listening to the legacy fund hoarders

Smoke rises from the North Dakota Capitol and chimneys of nearly every building and home Wednesday, Dec. 27. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

In 2009 the North Dakota Legislature passed a constitutional amendment to create a fund out of a portion of taxes on oil and gas development. It was passed by the voters in the 2010 election, and the result is the Legacy Fund which has a balance of around $5 billion.

Over the years there have been a lot of ideas for how to use the Legacy Fund.

As we head into the 2019 legislative session, we have a bunch of eastern North Dakota interests wanting to funnel Legacy Fund revenues into NDSU and UND. We have some lawmakers who want to invest the Legacy Fund in bonds for certain North Dakota infrastructure projects. A rural school superintendent is getting some traction behind using Legacy Fund dollars for school building projects. Governor Doug Burgum, meanwhile, proposes spending about $300 million in Legacy Fund revenues on various projectsin his executive budget.

But there is another group, some of whom were behind the legislation which created the Legacy Fund, who continue to insist there was a point to that exercise but can’t ever seem to come up with something they’d actually like to do with the billions of dollars worth of other people’s money they’ve stockpiled in the government’s coffers:

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