Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published August 31, 2010, 08:21 AM

ND measure is a plan to save for the future

FARGO, N.D. — When was the last time you put a little money into savings? Many of us don’t. We find ourselves saying, “Oh, there are so many bills, unexpected expenses. We’ll start next month.”

By: Eric Aasmundstad,

FARGO, N.D. — When was the last time you put a little money into savings? Many of us don’t. We find ourselves saying, “Oh, there are so many bills, unexpected expenses. We’ll start next month.”

Next month, we have another excuse. And the money doesn’t get saved.

It’s the same scenario being played out on a state level right now in North Dakota. We have a strong economy, in large part to the booming oil industry, and we think we should be spending everything that’s coming in.

The problem is, you can bet that our needs always will be “too great,” and we will make excuses for rampant spending until the oil industry takes a downturn, and we find the state deficit spending.

Instead of waiting until the economy heads south, we need to start practicing some fiscal restraint and start saving. An easy way to get started is to vote “yes” on Measure 1 this November.

Measure 1 on the ballot will create a North Dakota Legacy Fund utilizing the oil and gas taxes that are accumulating at record levels. As a constitutional amendment, the Legacy Fund would be a permanent savings account.

It makes sense to save some of the oil money, put it to work in sound investments and let the fund grow for future generations. It’s the fiscally responsible thing to do. And now is the right time to do it, without raising taxes or creating a new tax.

As long as the oil industry continues to flourish, the Legacy Fund could grow rapidly. The earnings could be used for education, roads and other infrastructure needs for many years to come.

We have a responsibility to save some of this money for our children’s and grandchildren’s future. A “yes” vote on Measure 1 would leave a financially-sound state to future generations. As North Dakotans, we don’t want to follow the path of Washington and gamble away our children’s future with excessive spending.

You may recall that voters defeated a similar measure to establish a permanent savings account in 2008. You’re probably asking, “Why should I vote “yes” this time, when I voted “no” last time?” This measure represents a more balanced approach to saving and spending. The previous measure set aside specific dollar amounts and required a three-fourths vote of the Legislature to spend the principal. This measure is based on percentage of dollars and requires a two-thirds vote to spend the principal. In addition, it allows the fund to grow for five years before the dollars are spent, allowing greater income in 2017 and beyond. Some of the organizations that opposed the measure last time now are supporting this measure.

Spend all the oil revenue today or save for a secure future? The choice is easy. Just look at your children and grandchildren. Vote “yes” on Measure 1 Nov. 2.

Editor’s Note Aasmundstad is the president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau.

Tags: