BISMARCK, ND — In the 2019 legislative session, Sen. Joan Heckaman introduced SB 2276, a bill that would have dedicated 5% of the investments made on behalf of the Legacy Fund to the Bank of North Dakota for a revolving loan fund to address community needs. On Monday, Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread re-introduced the same concept to the State Investment Board.
If Heckaman’s bill had been approved, funds already invested in other state and national infrastructure portfolios could have been used to support North Dakota’s childcare centers, nursing homes, bringing natural gas to a community, and more. For the 2019-21 biennium, it would have generated an estimated $200 million for the revolving loan fund, and shored up communities that are having to now raise taxes. The bill passed in the Senate but was defeated in the NDGOP-controlled House by one vote.
Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman said:
“I am certainly pleased to see Commissioner Godfread’s proposal to the State Investment Board to prioritize more Legacy Fund investment in North Dakota-based projects to benefit our communities and help diversify our state’s economy. Last session, SB 2276 gained quick support from the private sector and passed the Senate. Unfortunately, the House bill missed by a single vote. The proposal would be one step to building a balanced economy that works for all North Dakotans, and I’m encouraged to see bipartisan support growing for the idea.”
House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said:
“Democratic-NPL legislators have been supportive of investing a greater share of the Legacy Fund principal into projects that move North Dakota forward, while also providing a strong, sustainable return on the investment. This would provide opportunities to invest in our state’s roads, bridges and water projects while keeping property taxes and special assessments low for property owners. And even more excitingly, provide additional state support to the development of well-vetted, private infrastructure that benefits economic diversification throughout North Dakota.”