North Dakota Democratic-NPL Calls for Bipartisan Commission to Explore Budget Priorities

Governor Burgum’s Budget Outline fails to address pressing issues facing North Dakota

Massive cuts to vital state services, education set the state up for financial ruin

(BISMARCK, ND) – Today, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL is calling for a bipartisan commission to review to state’s budget priorities in response to Governor Doug Burgum’s radical vision aimed at slashing public services presented in his Strategic Budget Outline for the 2019-2021 cycle. To make up for draining North Dakota’s reserve funds of $800 million last cycle, the Governor latest scheme includes a potential 8 to 13 percent reduction in the budgets of state agencies and drastic changes to higher education funding.

“There’s nothing innovative or strategic about an 8 to 13 percent across the board budget cut,” saidHouse Democratic-NPL Leader Corey Mock (D-18). “As much as the Governor touts ‘reinventing government’ in North Dakota, this budget proposal leaves working families underserved and puts the state on shaky financial grounds. Governor Burgum should not only reconsider his call for indiscriminatorybudget cuts, but convene a bipartisan, public-private task force to identify our priorities and build an innovative budget that meets our state’s growing needs.”

In addition to cuts of state services, Burgum proposed a $50 million reduction in higher education funding, axing nearly one-third of the North Dakota University System’s budget over four years.

While the Governor stated these cuts will not affect K-12 education, he failed to address critical shortfalls in the current funding model for schools. For the previous two bienniums, funding per student has remained stagnant leading to a five to six percent gap that Burgum’s current budget outline does not address.

“We need to ask ourselves and our elected officials about the kind of state we want to live in,” said Senate Democratic-NPL Leader Joan Heckaman (D-23). “Our hope is that through a bipartisan commission, both parties can identify key priorities that meet the needs of North Dakota, find opportunities for cooperation, and present a budget that strengthens our fiscal footing while continuing to provide high-quality service for our citizens and a proper education for the next generation.”