As Minnesota lawmakers wrestle to close a budget deficit of $1.1 billion, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple wants to increase state spending by 18 percent over the next two years.
Rapidly growing oil revenues are fueling the proposed budget growth. Dalrymple wants to spend $2.7 billion on infrastructure improvements to roads and schools. Nearly $1 billion would be targeted to local governments in oil-producing areas of the state.
"Never before in our state's history have we had a structural balance to our general fund budget as strong as what we are proposing today. What an extraordinary time for our state," he said.
Dalrymple told lawmakers that North Dakota's $1.5 billion-general fund surplus provides an unprecedented opportunity to shape the state's future.
"This surplus in ongoing general fund revenue makes possible our substantial one-time investments in infrastructure while still providing tax relief and building our reserves," Dalrymple said.
The governor wants lawmakers to approve millions of dollars in property and income tax cuts. Despite increased spending, the governor said various reserve funds will grow to more than $5 billion in the next two years.