The Legacy Fund is bouncing back, but could take another hit

The Legacy Fund is bouncing back, but could take another hit
The Legacy Fund is bouncing back, but could take another hit(KFYR)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 8:01 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota's Legacy Fund is meant to provide for future generations.

But, like so much else impacted by oil prices, the fund has taken a big hit.

So what does the future hold? The Legacy Fund Earnings Committee met Wednesday, June 8 to discuss that very thing.

In January, the Legacy Fund's balance was more than $6.9 billion, hitting its highest peak yet for this biennium. But just two months later in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit full force and oil prices dropped, the balance was down to about $6.1 billion.

That’s a 7.21 percent drop in investment returns.

Unexpected losses greatly outweighed expected gains for the months of March and April, when the pandemic had just begun, but lawmakers said the fund is bouncing back.

“All of us in here have heard that we should be tapping into the Legacy Fund right now and I, myself am NOT in favor of that because when that was put into a vote by the citizens the idea behind that was for the fund to be for future generations, not for us because we’ve run into a little financial trouble right now,” said Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington.

Although the fund’s overall balance is back up to more than $6.8 billion, the oil and gas tax account does not look as promising. 30 percent of the fund functions off of oil and gas deposits with the average deposit amounting to about $54 million every month. But state officials project June’s monthly deposit will be the lowest it’s ever been at only $10 million.

The Legacy Fund Earnings Committee also discussed ways to use the money.

Among the most popular ideas is to put the money towards K-12 education, health and human services programs, economic development, and infrastructure projects.

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