The $5 billion question: Panel looking at uses for N.D. Legacy Fund earnings

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A legislative panel has begun its work to study potential uses of earnings from the Legacy Fund, the voter-approved oil tax savings account.

The 11-member committee that includes Senate and House majority and minority leaders held its first meeting Thursday. Four additional meetings are to be held before the Legislature meets again in 2021.

Voters in 2010 endorsed a constitutional amendment that requires setting aside 30 percent of state tax revenues on oil and natural gas production in the fund.

The fund holds more than $5.5 billion. And earnings increasingly have been targeted for spending, or to balance the state budget.

Some lawmakers fear without a good plan moving forward, voters may attempt to drain the fund.

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