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Legislators grapple with how to spend Legacy Fund earnings

Posted 3/27/19 (Wed)

By Bilal Suleiman
ND Newspaper Association

Maybe they thought the day would never come.
Back in 2010, when voters approved the Legacy Fund, 2019 felt very far away. Yet, nine years later, North Dakota is faced with a tough question: how should we spend it?
Lawmakers have floated several ideas this session, including buying down income taxes, funding research at UND and NDSU and establishing a revolving infrastructure loan fund for political subdivisions. Gov. Doug Burgum has proposed spending $300 million in Legacy Fund earnings on such projects as a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and unmanned aircraft infrastructure.
Some, however, are urging caution at using the funds so soon.
“This is a one-time resource, it’s a one-time harvest, so we need to be thoughtful about how we use those funds,” said Robert Harms, who served as legal counsel for former Govs. Ed Schafer and John Hoeven.
“If we spend as if the revenue will never go down, 20, 30 years from now the people of North Dakota will be dealing with a real problem,” Harms said.

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