Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – Xcel Energy assured North Dakota regulators Thursday that it’s taking steps to improve reliability for Fargo customers after five power outages in the past two weeks and paying out nearly $400,000 in credits to customers for failing to meet performance targets set in 2012. Minneapolis-based Xcel blamed failures in the same underground cable for outages Sunday and Monday that affected about 4,600 Fargo customers, some for nearly two hours.
BISMARCK – State agencies that were forced to shave 4 percent from their budgets in February must find another 6 percent to cut for next biennium, Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered Wednesday in budget guidelines that call for reductions for the first time since 2002. Dalrymple cited reduced oil drilling activity and a severe shortfall in sales tax revenue as factors behind his request for general fund budgets at 90 percent of what was originally appropriated to agencies for ongoing expenditures in the current two-year cycle.
BISMARCK – The chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party said Wednesday he expects the state’s unbound delegates to the GOP national convention will coalesce around presumptive nominee Donald Trump if he secures the delegates needed for the nomination, though some will likely still vote for Ted Cruz despite his suspended campaign.
BISMARCK – North Dakota teachers will rewrite the state’s math and English standards in the coming months to replace the politically charged Common Core standards and set “clear and high expectations for all students,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said Tuesday. Public schools have used the current standards, developed in 2008 and based on Common Core, for the past three to six years.
BISMARCK – The Democratic candidate for governor called Monday for a full review of North Dakota’s oil impact grant program after state auditors found the five-member board that oversees it – currently all Republicans – awarded grants to some recipients who appeared to be ineligible.
BISMARCK – For the first time since 2002, North Dakota’s governor will ask state agencies to propose smaller budgets for the next biennium as uncertainty looms over how soon the oil and farm sectors that drive the state’s economy and tax revenues will rebound. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who is not seeking a second four-year term in office in November, will deliver the budget guidelines at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol’s Brynhild Haugland Room.
BISMARCK – Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Thursday directed the head of the state’s Department of Trust Lands to make dozens of changes recommended in recent critical audits, whether the agency agrees with them or not.
BISMARCK – Fargo businessman Doug Burgum’s involvement in angel funds that invested in out-of-state companies while investors reaped North Dakota income tax credits is drawing fire from Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, his primary challenger for the Republican Party’s nomination for governor. Stenehjem told reporters Thursday that while Burgum’s out-of-state investments were within the law, “I still think that there is a moral obligation to use those tax credits for the purpose of jobs in North Dakota.”
BISMARCK – North Dakota’s prolific Bakken shale formation is a good candidate for injecting carbon dioxide to boost oil recovery, but major economic and technological hurdles remain and large-scale implementation is probably a decade away, a consultant told lawmakers studying possible incentives to encourage the practice.
BISMARCK – Frustrations boiled over Tuesday as lawmakers scrutinizing North Dakota’s angel fund tax incentive ran into information roadblocks and struggled to see how the state’s economy is benefiting from the lucrative income tax credits enjoyed by angel fund investors. “I’m extremely concerned about this. It does not smell right,” said Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck.