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Dalrymple orders additional 2.5 percent cut as part of GOP plan to balance $310M budget shortfall

BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered most state agencies Monday to cut their budgets by an additional 2.5 percent to help offset a $310 million budget shortfall, intending for the rest to be covered with up to $100 million in Bank of North Dak...

BISMARCK - Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered most state agencies Monday to cut their budgets by an additional 2.5 percent to help offset a $310 million budget shortfall, intending for the rest to be covered with up to $100 million in Bank of North Dakota profits and draining a rainy day fund to zero.

"We have faith that this bill will pass," the Republican governor told reporters as he outlined the plan crafted with leaders of the Legislature's GOP majority.

The bill will be introduced Tuesday when the Legislature convenes for a three-day special session called by Dalrymple last month after an updated revenue forecast projected the $310 million shortfall.

Agencies that receive general fund appropriations were notified shortly before 1 p.m. Monday of the 2.5 percent across-the-board cuts known as an allotment, which comes on top of a 4.05 percent allotment ordered in February to help balance a projected $1.07 billion shortfall at that time.

The 2.5 percent cuts will reduce the $310 million budget shortfall by about $152 million. To cover the rest, the GOP-sponsored bill assumes draining the remaining $75 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund - which Dalrymple already tapped for $497.5 million in February - and using up to $100 million in profits from the state-owned bank if needed by the end of the biennium on June 30, 2017.

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As promised by Dalrymple and GOP leaders, the bill would spare the Department of Human Services from the 2.5 percent cuts by restoring $33 million in funding. It also would restore $3.2 million to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reducing its budget cut to 1 percent.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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