Plain Talk: School lunches and the Legacy Fund


Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer talks Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in Fargo about his interim appointment as president of the University of North Dakota in January. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT, N.D. — What’s the right legacy for North Dakota’s Legacy Fund?

It’s a perennial question, all the more so when lawmakers are in session in Bismarck, and the answer is seemingly different for everyone. And that’s the problem. The Legacy Fund was created two decades ago to store a big chunk of oil tax revenues for the future. Now the fund has billions in principal, and produces hundreds of millions in revenues of its own every cycle from its investments, and we’re still debating what to do with it.

Former Gov. Ed Schafer, who was a part of the campaign that created the fund, joined this episode of Plain Talk to talk about it. He says our current lawmakers are too spend-happy with the fund and are foolishly, in his estimation, tying up its revenues, sometimes decades into the future.

Also on this episode, co-host Chad Oban and I discuss the debate over school lunch. Should the state be picking up the tab? It would end the headaches schools have with trying to collect past due lunch payments. It would also make it so that no student would be shamed when they don’t get the same school lunch as everyone else because their parents didn’t pay. Also, school lunch bills can cost $1,000 or more over the course of the school year. If the state picks up the tab, that’s a burden off families with young children.

But some lawmakers say it’s a handout. A new sort of entitlement. Are they right?

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