Common Sense Commentary: Vote For The Legacy Fund

Oil well

While most states are struggling with high unemployment, soaring foreclosure rates and aninability to balance their budgets, we here in North Dakota are weathering the national recession pretty well. What’s the reason for our success? Simple: common sense government coupled with a wealth of agriculture and energy resources. The Bakken Formation will produce billions of barrels of oil, presenting North Dakota with a unique challenge other states would love to share: what do we do with all that tax revenue?

Well November will be here before we know it friends, and with it comes an opportunity for you to help preserve North Dakota’s future with a vote for Measure #1, the Legacy Fund.

Think of it as a savings account. The proposed constitutional amendment allocates the first 30% of all oil and gas tax revenue derived from North Dakota’s two oil and gas taxes to be transferred to a fund. Once secured, restrictions are imposed on accessing the principal or interest earnings on the fund. If approved, the money cannot be appropriated until 2017, so the fund would create significant reserves if the oil boom slows . Saving for a rainy day, if you will.

What’s more, the measure will limit the withdrawal from the fund to no more than 15% of the principal in any two-year budgeting period. Accrued interest from the fund may be appropriated by simple majorities of each legislative house, and expenditure of the principal will require a two-thirds vote. So at a time where most Americans stand idly by as the government spends trillions at the expense of future generations, the Legacy Fund offers visionary controls to prevent wanton spending. In fact, had the fund been created during the last oil boom, it would have accumulated a balance of $2.9 billion and the state would have interest earnings of $241 million in the next biennium. Wouldn’t have that been a nice nest egg? Well let’s make sure we don’t miss out on it this time. Support the future of North Dakota, and vote yes for Measure #1 Legacy Fund this November.

Scott Hennen

Scott Hennen is the host of the What's On Your Mind syndicated talk radio show broadcasting from its flagship KFYR in Bismarck to stations across North Dakota.

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