Saturday, October 18, 2014

North Dakota Legacy Fund Ballooning -- October 18, 2014

Lots and lots of interesting stories being reported today. I will eventually get to them, but I have lots of swimming and soccer activities with the granddaughters so there will be intermittent blogging throughout the day. At swimming venue, there is wi-fi, but very, very slow on a good day, so at a swimming meeting, it may be practically "non-existent." We'll see.

Three quick stories. 

I'm most surprised by Supreme Court ruling on Texas voter's ID law. At least one dissenting justice says the Election Identification Card (EIC) harkens back to the "poll tax." In fact, the EIC is free if one qualifies. The application is an incredibly simple two-page form and can be filled out at home but must be notarized. It is not difficult to find notaries in Texas who will notarize the application for free; our local library, for example, provides the service. Folks with disabilities are exempt from requiring an EIC. Of the states 26 million residents, it is estimated that 600,000 (about 2%) do not have a government-issued photo ID that would qualify. And if one does not have an EIC, one can still vote, but for the vote to count, the individual must return with an EIC within 6 days of casting the vote.

I will do a commentary sometime on the counter-intuitive result of journalism and not having boots on the ground. I haven't seen anybody discuss this before.

And the North Dakota Legacy Fund is ballooning, far more than expected.
Roughly 40 percent of the oil and gas tax revenue the state expects to receive this biennium is already spoken for in the state’s constitution. The largest portion of that is the voter-approved Legacy Fund, which is expected to reach $3.8 billion in June 2015. Lawmakers won’t be able to touch legacy funds until 2017, and even then they’ll have to reach a two-thirds majority to make decisions on how to spend the money.
And in November, voters will decide whether to create another trust fund aimed at conservation. Measure 5 would create both a trust and a fund using 5 percent of the state’s oil extraction tax revenue.

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