Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dalrymple Strongly Recommends Legislators Pass Social Service Funding Proposal

A top priority item for North Dakota counties received strong support from Governor Jack Dalrymple Wednesday, December 7, as the governor included state funding for county social services in his executive budget. Dalrymple presented his budget for the 2017-2019 biennium to lawmakers. 

Dalrymple “strongly recommends” that the Legislative Assembly support the bill to eliminate the 20 mill authority for county social services that can be levied on all property owners in North Dakota. State funds would be used in replacement of property tax dollars.
Photo Courtesy: The Bismarck Tribune
“Four years ago and two years ago legislative leadership said that we were not ready to make this change. They were right. A comprehensive formula for county social services reimbursement has taken one and a half years to develop with the help of county and state professionals,” Dalrymple told lawmakers.
Dalrymple focused on this proposal as the mechanism to deliver real, permanent property tax relief. “It requires that the new property tax relief formula for county social services always produces property tax relief at a level no less than the 12 percent county tax buy down, which was implemented four years ago. In some counties the amount of property tax relief will actually be greater than the 12 percent buy down. The best feature is that this formula is built into our ongoing expenditures, is driven by each county’s actual workload and becomes a permanent means to property tax relief over the long haul. There will no longer be any need for a special fund dedicated to this form of property tax relief.”
Dalrymple touted the great achievements North Dakota has made in lowering taxes. The total of tax relief since 2009 now totals $4.4 billion.

Other points to highlight from Dalrymple's budget: 
- Total General Fund spending is down 21 percent from current biennium
- Reduction of 583 full-time employees
- Agencies required to cut 10 percent from budgets (with exception of DHS, DOCR and Highway Patrol) an additonal $60 million in cost savings was also identified
- $1.3 billion to state, county and tribal governments for infrastructure needs 
- Reserves expected to grow $1.1 billion to $6.3 billion

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