The newly announced Republican infrastructure plan leaves all cities and counties vulnerable to fluctuations in oil market
(BISMARCK, ND) — Today, North Dakota Republican legislative leaders outlined an inadequate plan that, at best, simply reshuffles oil funding and at worst ties local water and road projects to the price of oil.
Just over 100 days from the 2018 election, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and House Majority Leader Al Carlson released an infrastructure outline that would tie city and county projects to the same flawed and irresponsible funding model that has gotten North Dakota into its current budget troubles. Additionally, the proposal would hurt Western North Dakota’s cities and counties by exposing them to more damage if oil prices drop.
North Dakota is already facing an $800 million budget shortfall, while Governor Burgum is advocating for deeper 8 to 13 percent across-the-board cuts to public services. Meanwhile, Republican legislative leadership is pushing for a plan that will put local infrastructure projects at the mercy of oil prices.
“The plan unveiled by Republican legislative leadership falls short of meeting North Dakota’s pressing infrastructure priorities,” said House Minority Leader Corey Mock. “Much-needed property tax relief was cut in 2017 because of declining revenues and low oil prices. Tying local infrastructure funding to the same, volatile source of revenue is akin to putting more eggs into a single basket. Cities and counties not only need infrastructure support, but they deserve peace of mind that the state can deliver on its promise.”
“North Dakota Republicans have already tried this experiment with the state government’s finances, and now we see an $800 million shortfall and damaging cuts to important state services. We do not want cities and counties to face that same burden,” said Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman. “Our Democratic-NPL legislators are willing to work with the Governor and our Republican colleagues to pass sensible budgetary reforms that adequately and sustainably meet the needs of working families in our state.”