On the 2010 ballot North Dakota voters passed an amendment to create Article X, Section 26 of the state constitution. That section creates the Legacy Fund into which 30 percent of the state’s tax revenues from the oil and extraction tax are deposited (as well as any other funds the Legislature wishes).
Since the first deposit in September of 2011, the Legacy Fund’s balance has grown significantly. According to a press release from State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt’s office, the Legacy Fund has just crossed the $2 billion mark.
I requested some specifics on the deposits into the Legacy Fund from the beginning. This chart shows the amount of the monthly transfer into the fund (which, as you can see, has grown over the years as oil tax revenues have increased):
Meanwhile, the total balance of the fund has grown at an aggressive pace. According to Schmidt, “At this pace, the Legacy Fund is on schedule to receive $3 billion dollars by the end of the 2013-15 biennium.”
As I already mentioned, the Legislature is also allowed to deposit any other funds they wish, which they’ve done with the Strategic Improvement and Investment Fund (SIIF). Once the SIIF reaches a $300 million per biennium cap, additional revenues for that fund are deposited into the Legacy Fund.
The only deposits made from the SIIF was in FY2013 when $147,690,438.81 million was transferred.
The Legacy Fund is just one of a maze of state funds that have billions of dollars squirreled away. And, despite its rapid growth in balance, the Legacy Fund isn’t even the largest state fund. The Common Schools Trust Fund, for instance, had a balance of $2.763 billion at the end of 2013.
You can read more about the funds at the State Treasury Department’s website.