BISMARCK, ND – Governor Doug Burgum delivered his state-of-the-state speech today to a special session of the 67th Legislative Assembly calling for US Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars and the state’s surplus end fund to be invested in infrastructure, tax breaks and manpower , economic development and other priorities to move North Dakota forward.
“By investing here in North Dakota now, we can diversify the economy, we can improve government services, and we can avoid inflation, be competitive and achieve long-term cost savings for citizens – all without tax increases,” Burgum said, kicking off the bill the special legislative session in the Chamber of the House of Representatives of the Capitol. “But we have to invest strategically. That means one-time expenses that do not allow the state to grow. It means providing the taxpayer with long-term value, efficiency and cost savings. And it means ensuring a high return on investment and using private money to maximize the impact of public funds. “
Burgum signed and supreme command October 29th, convening a special session of the Legislature on November 8th to deal with the redistribution of the legislation, nationwide infrastructure and investment projects, natural gas infrastructure, nationwide workforce programs, economic development opportunities, income tax relief, and road, water and deferred maintenance needs.
Most of the investments are proposed from the state’s ARPA funds. North Dakota received just over $ 1 billion in ARPA State Fiscal Recovery funding and $ 113 million in ARPA Coronavirus Capital Projects funding, making a total of $ 1.12 billion in ARPA funding for state distribution means. Approximately $ 423 million of this was made available by lawmakers for transport infrastructure and investment projects last spring.
The state also ended the 2019-21 fiscal cycle with a general fund closing balance that was $ 412 million more than lawmakers committed to the current 2021-23 budget. Today, Burgum reiterated its call for lawmakers to use approximately half of that excess, or $ 207 million, to provide individuals with an income tax credit of up to $ 500 per year per tax return for 2021 and 2022 tax returns.
“Providing tax relief now for the calendar years 2021 and 2022 – in other words, giving money back to our citizens – is a real tax relief and reacts to it,” said Burgum. “We can afford it, and we should want to do it. The hardworking taxpayers of North Dakota definitely deserve it. “
Burgum noted the state’s reserves are healthy, with the rainy day budget stabilization fund hit a record high at its statutory high of $ 749 million. The Office of Management and Budget is also forecasting an uncommitted balance of nearly 600 million. Burgum said the state’s financial position was “a unique opportunity to invest in our future and offer our citizens tax breaks and future savings”.
The governor has his Accelerate the ND plan on September 30th with broad input from the private and public sectors and provided a solid starting point for the ARPA investment process. Burgum today thanked the legislature leaders for their collaboration throughout the process, and also thanked the Provisional Funding Committees for encouraging a high return on investment, noting the strong correspondence between the budget bills and the ND Acceleration Plan.
For more information on infrastructure, manpower, economic development, and other proposals from the governor, including roads and bridges, professional colleges, and expanding natural gas supplies, see the full address here and the slide show here.