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Better access needed to Legacy Fund principal

Thomas Beadle, Fargo

We have long been debating what should be done with the Legacy Fund. It is critically important that we follow prudent investment strategies that best serve our citizens, find ways we can use our taxpayer resources to help diversify our state’s economy, and be certain that we aren’t investing in foreign companies that are a threat to our nation.

One of the biggest issues that our North Dakota businesses have had over the years is access to investment capital. Private equity firms are heavily invested on the coasts, with areas like New York and San Francisco receiving the bulk of the total investments in our country. That creates obstacles for firms in rural states like ours to get the capital needed to get to market.

The State Investment board has recognized this problem before, which is why the board authorized $300M to be invested in the Bank of North Dakota’s Loan Match guarantee fund.

The time is right to do more. We should invest some of the principal of the Legacy Fund that will be managed by North Dakotans for North Dakotans.

This is something that has been looked at for some time, and I believe now is the right time to move forward. Establishing a program that shift some of the Legacy Fund’s investments into a North Dakota Investment Advisory Committee would diversify our investment portfolio, bring invested funds into our state and generate market returns for the fund itself.

I’m proud of Commissioner Godfread for bringing this issue to the table, and for Board Chairman, Lt. Governor Sanford, for granting this idea good discussion. I hope the SIB moves forward with this proposal. This will be a win-win for North Dakota.

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