Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 11:30 am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today presented his strategic budget guidelines for the 2025-2027 biennium, emphasizing the need for agencies to continue finding efficiencies, containing costs and identifying opportunities for innovation and automation in state government as inflationary costs, formula-driven demands and other factors put pressure on the state budget.  

While state general fund revenues are running ahead of forecast, Burgum noted that the trajectory of the state’s overall budget requires focusing on efficiencies, savings and outcomes for citizens. State general fund revenues for the current biennium were running 10.8%, or nearly $213 million, ahead of forecast through March, nine months into the two-year budget cycle.

“Today, we’re issuing guidelines that ask agencies to tighten their belts, just as our citizens have had to tighten theirs due to the high prices of goods and services caused by high inflation,” Burgum said. “We realize that asking agencies to cut their budgets may seem counter-intuitive when our state coffers and reserves are flush with cash. But the current trajectory of our overall state budget requires us to contain costs, and we must identify additional areas for efficiencies and savings if we’re to ensure that ongoing revenues can cover expenditures in the long term.”

The Governor’s Office and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) began the strategy review process with state agencies in January, holding 74 meetings across various agencies. 

The budget guidelines released today call for agencies with budgets of more than $10 million in general funds or special funds to identify a 3% reduction.  

Although our state is doing well financially, we have a variety of needs to be addressed which will require prioritizing and refocusing resources,” OMB Director Susan Sisk said. “The net effect of all of these adjustments will be a fairly flat starting point overall, although it will vary slightly by agency.” 

Agencies will again have the opportunity to submit proposals that may require resources above the base level in the form of decision packages.

A shortage of workers to fill job openings continues to limit North Dakota’s economic growth opportunities, Burgum noted. The state currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at 2%, and the second-highest labor participation rate, at 68.9%. Job Service North Dakota reported 16,540 online job listings in April, down 4.8% from the same month one year ago, though the number of estimated available jobs is 30,000 or more because only a fraction of open positions are posted.

“Whether you’re in the private sector or government, our workforce shortage means we must capitalize on every opportunity to automate processes and free up our limited workforce to focus on high-value work,” Burgum said.