Dalrymple Issues 2015-2017 Budget Guidelines
BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Jack Dalrymple today issued to state government agencies his budget guidelines for the 2015-2017 biennium. Dalrymple directed agency leaders to develop a hold-even baseline budget with an option for additional resources that are essential to the needs of a growing state.
“I am committed to holding the line on on-going spending, while recognizing that we must also meet the many needs driven by a growing population and the nation’s strongest state economy,” Dalrymple said. “We owe it to the people of our state to develop a balanced budget that funds our priorities, allows us to meet the dynamic needs that come with growth, and provides for prudent investments in our future. At the same time, we should always look for more opportunities to lower taxes whenever possible.”
Dalrymple said agencies impacted by increased demand for services should submit an optional budget request for proposed staffing changes or other budgetary changes. The governor directed agency leaders to consider changes within their existing budgets before requesting resources above current funding levels.
“The strong growth throughout our state requires that we continue to become more creative and more efficient service providers,” Dalrymple said. “Consider all opportunities to leverage or reprioritize existing resources, including staffing. Keep our best programs, consolidate when it creates efficiencies and eliminate efforts that no longer fit our priorities.”
North Dakota continues to receive strong oil and gas tax revenues, but less than six percent of the tax revenue is currently available for the state’s on-going operational costs, Dalrymple said. By law, the rest of the state’s oil and gas tax revenue is distributed to counties and to other dedicated funds including the Legacy Fund, the Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund and the State Disaster Relief Fund.
On-going reductions in federal funding also create budgeting challenges, Dalrymple said. As North Dakota’s economy grows and personal incomes rise, the state has been required to pick up a greater share of the costs of Medicaid. Between fiscal years 2011 and 2015, the state has had to make up about $198 million in lost federal funding to sustain the existing Medicaid program.
The state is also making major investments in other critical needs that, not long ago, included a much larger federal funding commitment. Today, the state is investing hundreds of millions of dollars for airport improvements, highway improvements and other needs to make up for reductions in federal funding, Dalrymple said.
“Let no one say that the people of North Dakota aren’t doing their share to invest in infrastructure, to help revitalize the nation’s economy and to strengthen our energy security,” Dalrymple said.