- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

EVELETH, Minn. (AP) - The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board has approved a plan to protect a trust fund from potential raids by state government.

The IRRRB is funded by a taconite production tax paid by mining companies in lieu of local property taxes. It puts some of that money into the Douglas J. Johnson Trust Fund, a rainy day economic development fund that now holds $139 million. Legislators voted in 2011 to take $60 million from that fund to plug a hole in the state budget.

While Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed that, Range lawmakers and IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich wanted to prevent it from happening again.

On Thursday, the IRRRB voted to transfer $100 million from the fund to a new, independent nonprofit called the Range Trust that the state can’t touch.

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