What are we going to do with the Legacy Fund, the pot of cash North Dakota has been collecting from oil tax revenues and investing?
There are a lot of things we could do, and they generally fall into two broad categories. One is how the fund is invested, the other is what we do with the returns.
Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, who serves, as a part of his official duties, on the State Investment Board which oversees the investments of the Legacy Fund, has an idea for the latter of those categories.
Currently, the Legacy Fund has approximately $7 billion, and almost all of those dollars are invested outside of North Dakota.
Nearly $1.7 billion of that total is not only invested outside of North Dakota, but outside the borders of the United States, including more than $107 million worth of investments in communist China.
Godfread doesn't necessarily want to address that specific issue (though it is an issue which needs to be talked about) but he does want to focus some of the Legacy Fund's investments in North Dakota, and he talked about it on this episode of Plain Talk.
Currently, the SIB uses 32 money managers to guide investments. Godfread would like to add a 33rd called the North Dakota Investment Advisory Committee (IAC). The committee would be tasked with identifying good investments within the borders of North Dakota.
Those investments would pay returns to the Legacy Fund just like any other investment. This is not a plan to "spend" the Legacy Fund, only a proposed shift in how some of the fund's dollars are invested.
In addition to the direct investment returns, Godfread said the state a whole would benefit from the infusion of capital to entrepreneurs and projects that will, in turn, create more jobs and economic activity in our state.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.