Burgum presents strategic budget guidelines for 2021-2023 biennium

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BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum today presented his strategic budget guidelines for the state of North Dakota for the 2021-2023 biennium, with an emphasis on teleworking, process improvement, reduced facility costs and the use of technology for efficiencies to offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic collapse in oil prices and tax revenues.

The Governor’s Office and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) began the strategy review process with state agencies in January. State agencies were asked to focus on goals and outcomes, and to think strategically on how they can reinvent existing processes to create more value for citizens. Nearly half of the strategy review sessions were complete when the COVID-19 pandemic developed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a landmark event in all our lives. It will change the way we interact with others, the way we work, the way we travel, the way we socialize, and it will have a long-lasting impact on our state budget,” Burgum said. “Its impact on state revenues presents a challenge, but we can choose how we respond to that. We are presented with a unique opportunity to innovate and improve what we do with more technology to deliver world-class service at a lower cost.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impact on the global demand for oil, have led to a historic collapse in oil prices. Burgum noted he is not calling for a budget reduction through the allotment process at this time. Rather, he is asking agencies to carefully manage their budgets, continuing to look for ways to innovate while being fiscally responsible.

Rather than an across-the-board approach, the budget guidelines announced today for 2021-23 biennium base budgets recognize that the smallest agencies, with the smallest staff and budgets, may find significant reductions the most difficult. The guidelines vary between 85 percent to 95 percent of the current adjusted base.

  • The smallest agencies, those with a current base budget of less than $5 million, are asked to submit a budget request that is 95 percent of their current base.
  • Agencies with a current adjusted base budget of $5 million to $20 million are asked to submit a request that’s 90 percent of than their current base budget.
  • Agencies with a current adjusted base budget larger than $20 million are asked to submit a request that’s 85 percent of their current base budget.

For institutions of higher education, base budgets are requested to be developed assuming 90 percent of their current funding formula. Special fund agencies are being asked to reprioritize 5 percent of their current adjusted appropriation to strategically reinvest in high-impact areas.

“Meeting the challenge of this budget will not be easy. We have an opportunity to meet this challenge with an open mind,” OMB Director Joe Morrissette said. “It is an opportunity to take a critical look at what we do and find ways to be more efficient, all with the team members and citizens of North Dakota in mind.”

Morrissette said both general and special fund agencies should reprioritize within base budgets to find the funding to continue current biennium salary increases.

“Retaining and attracting high-performing team members is a top priority,” Burgum said. “Team ND members are our most valuable resource.”

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