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Despite oil slump, Dalrymple says budget won’t change much

BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he expects the final executive budget proposal he submits before leaving office to be in line with past budgets, despite the current revenue downturn and potential for cuts in the upcoming biennium.

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BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he expects the final executive budget proposal he submits before leaving office to be in line with past budgets, despite the current revenue downturn and potential for cuts in the upcoming biennium.

Dalrymple told the Bismarck Tribune editorial board earlier this week he doesn’t expect to have a radically different budget and feels the state could always rebound from the current slowdown in revenue collections.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a doom-and-gloom budget by any means,” Dalrymple said.

Lawmakers passed a record $14.4 billion 2015-17 budget in May, down from the $15.72 billion he’d proposed. A little more than $6 billion of that is in general fund spending.

With the cyclical oil and agricultural industries being major drivers of the state’s economy, slowdowns occur, according to Dalrymple, who said he feels the state can manage with its large reserves and not experience major cuts in services.

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“We’re not going to give up on tax relief. We’re not going to give up on infrastructure build out,” Dalrymple said.

A total of $397.2 million in tax cuts were passed this session. Of this, $274.2 million were property tax cuts and $123 million in individual and corporate property taxes.

A key infrastructure piece last session was $1.1 billion in early surge spending largely for oil patch communities and roads.

Dalrymple will provide state agencies with 2017-19 budget guidelines in the spring. By law, agencies have until July 15 to submit their budget requests, though extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Between then and October, agencies meet with the Office of Management and Budget and the governor to go over their budget requests.

A final revenue forecast for the upcoming biennium will come in November, with the governor’s budget address to follow in December during the organizational session.

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