Legacy Fund Earnings Committee Met Nov. 12-13

The Interim Legacy Fund Earnings Committee met Nov. 12-13 in Fargo to receive public input about how Legacy Fund earnings should be used.

Thirty percent of oil and gas tax collections are deposited in the Legacy Fund, which presently has a $6.36 billion balance. Starting with the 2017-2019 budget, investment earnings are transferred to the state’s general fund. The Legacy Fund transfer to the general fund on June 30, 2019 was $455.26 million. The Legacy Fund Committee is considering ideas to dedicate the funds for ‘legacy’ type uses as opposed to the funds simply becoming part of government operations.

Barring a market correction a substantial amount will be transferred to the fund at the end of the 2019-21 budget, and every biennium thereafter. Projections by the state show the Legacy Fund will grow to $27.99 billion by 2041 if all earnings are transferred to the state general fund and $48.33 billion if all earnings are returned to the Legacy Fund.

Keith Lund from Grand Forks Region Economic Development spoke on behalf of EDND about the importance of investing in infrastructure and economic development and workforce projects which will benefit future generations.

Dozens of speakers offered many different suggestions which included school construction help, social programs, water infrastructure, academic research, a personal charitable contribution match program, grants for tourism, community improvement tax breaks, eliminating the income tax, and property tax relief.