Next Emergency Budget Process Must Include Earlier Legislative and Citizen Input

BISMARCK, ND — The state of North Dakota released more than $541 million in budget requests for the Office of Management and Budget and other spending related to the state’s $1.25 billion in federal covid-19 relief funding.

Next week, the Emergency Commission will make a recommendation regarding the proposal to the legislative Budget Section, which will then vote on whether to allocate the money to the state. 

House Minority Leader Josh Boschee and Sen. Minority Leader Joan Heckaman released the following statements.

House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said:

“State employees have done phenomenal work pivoting to disaster relief and we support their need for immediate funding. This sum is also comparable to an eighth of our entire General Fund budget and the next allocation could be even larger. Going forward, the public deserves a process with earlier input from legislators and citizens if we’re going to wisely and transparently budget hundreds of millions of dollars before the end of the year.”

Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman said:

“It’s incredibly important for us to support our economy and the businesses affected by the pandemic, and we also need to remember the workers and families who suffered hardship because of the fallout. There are nonprofits stepping up in big ways to aid people all over the state, and they should also be welcomed to the table in future discussions for spending relief funds.”