Facing an economic short fall, ND Gov. calls special legislative session

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North Dakotans have elected representatives to make the tough calls when times get lean. Now, is one of those times.

After months and months of tax revenues missing projections, Gov. Jack Dalrymple has the legislature back in Bismarck for a special session.

Dalrymple used just about every tool available to him to cover a billion dollar shortfall in February, including an across-the-board allotment.

Now, facing another shortfall, more than $300 million, Dalrymple brought the legislature back to avoid further cuts to some essential services.

After the 15th special session in North Dakota history gavelled in, Dalrymple addressed the legislature with a plan including another round of budget cuts, but this time, Human Services will be spared and Corrections will take a smaller hit.

"The good news is that our legislature had the foresight to set aside strong reserves, which will be used for the exact purpose for which they are intended," said Dalrymple.

Many legislators applaud draining the rainy day fund and using Bank of North Dakota profits to cover the gap.

"Keep in mind when you do this, it's meant to be streamlined. It's meant to be very focused. It's meant to get in and out and to do our responsibility to balance the budget and we have done that," said Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo.

During a committee meeting on the bill, Democrats proposed an amendment which would have taken money from the Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund to cover some matched federal money Human Services had to cut the first time around.

"To me, this is a strategic investment, to put $29 million on the table and get $56 million back. That's a strategic investment," said Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo.

While senators voted the amendment down in committee, Mathern said he would bring it up again on the floor of the Senate.

Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, says even with budget cuts, property tax relief won't affected.

The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended the Senate floor pass the governor and Republican leadership's plan.

The floor will vote on the bill Wednesday. ​

Two bills that would have delayed the Governor's Residence project died in the Delayed Bills Committee and will not go forward.