Print Column: We’re Going to Do Something Stupid With the Legacy Fund

MINOT, N.D. — We’re going to end up doing something really, really dumb with the Legacy Fund.

It was created by the North Dakota Legislature, with approval from the voters, back in 2010. As of February the fund had about $5 billion in it thanks to revenues from oil and gas development.

Yet, at this point, there’s no defined purpose for what we’re actually going to do with all this cash.

A contingent of the fund’s backers – people I’ve dubbed hoarders – seem committed to growing the balance in the fund just for the sake of growing it. That’s opposing other ideas such as a proposal to use earnings from the fund to buy down the state’s income tax, which lawmakers voted down last week.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but beyond reasonable reserve funds, I’m not in favor of the government stockpiling billions of tax dollars taken away from the private sector with no plan in place for what we’re doing with the money.

I’ve been hearing various politicians and politicos droning on for years now about how “visionary” the Legacy Fund is.

There’s nothing visionary about it. What we’ve created is a moral hazard. A giant pot of money the use of which has become the subject of increasingly intense political fighting.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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