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Commentary: What if North Dakotans started financing infrastructure by lending money to themselves?

Screenshot from a information PDF being circulated in support of using some Legacy Fund dollars to finance infrastructure projects.

In 2009 the North Dakota Legislature passed a constitutional amendment to create a fund out of a portion of taxes on oil and gas development. It was passed by the voters in the 2010 election, and the result is the Legacy Fund which has a balance of going on $5 billion. It’s projected to have around $6 billion by the end of the current biennium.

The Legacy Fund is invested currently, with a big chunk of those investments being bonds issued to political subdivisions around the country for various infrastructure projects (see the most recent annual report from the State Investment Board here).

Now a group of lawmakers have asked, if we’re going to invest Legacy Fund dollars into funding infrastructure, why not invest it in North Dakota infrastructure? And if we’re going to loan ourselves money for infrastructure, why not give ourselves a low interest rate?

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