BISMARCK, N.D. - New budget cuts are coming for state agencies.
Governor Jack Dalrymple announced his plan to deal with the budget crunch as legislators prepare to come back to Bismarck for a special session.
To cover the last budget shortfall, Dalrymple ordered an allotment of more than four percent. This time, state agencies will have to forfeit two-and-a-half percent of their budgets, to the tune of 152 million dollars.
For only the 15th time in state history, legislators are coming back to Bismarck for a special session.
While some lawmakers want to tackle other policies both party's leaderships want to stay focused on the budget crunch.
"In three days, you cannot do justice to policy, and we need more time to debate them and vet them and that's why we're moving those issues off until January 3. We'll make it," says Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, (R) Dickinson.
"We need to be focused on shoring up the budget and doing it in a way that's compassionate and strategic, so that's our focus during our three days this week," says Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, (D) Grand Forks.
Republican leadership's plan comes the day before the session starts. It includes taking $100 million in profits from the Bank of North Dakota, draining the remaining $75 million from the state's rainy day fund and utilizing other special funds in addition to an allotment.
"We really think it's a failure by the majority not to have advanced a plan until the 11th hour," says Schneider.
"They have their plan, we have our plan and it will be debated in public. If we were to go together and start doing things behind closed doors, the people of the state would be in an uproar," says Wardner.
The Republican plan excludes the Department of Human Services from any cuts and cuts the Department of Correction's budget by one percent.
The Republican's plan also includes using $44 million of the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund to ensure K-12 funding remains untouched.
It also instructs the next legislature to restore funding for behavioral health, autism, and long-term care services if tax revenues turn around.
The full bill draft is attached to this article.
For the Democrats' plan, you can go to http://www.kfyrtv.com/content/news/North-Dakota-Democrats-unveil-budget-proposal-for-special-session-387861062.html.