House, Senate Pass Burgum Bill
BISMARCK – In his opening address Monday to a special session of the State Legislature, Governor Doug Burgum outlined his proposal for spending nearly $1.2 billion. The money came to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal response intended for COVID-19 relief.
In an evening session Thursday, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted 79-14 to approve SB 2345. The bill had earlier passed the Senate 41-6. The final version of Burgum’s proposal went through both houses with few alterations.
The largest expenditure in the bill is $150 million to the Industrial Commission “for the purpose of pipeline infrastructure grants to allow for the transportation of natural gas to eastern North Dakota” with at least $10 million targeted to transport natural gas to areas in Grand Forks County.
Among other appropriations is more than $8 million to the main research center at North Dakota State University in Fargo for research center projects, including money designated for facilities at Carrington, Dickinson, and Hettinger. The University of North Dakota is awarded $50 million to renovate Merrifield Hall. Minot State University is to receive $25 million for the purpose of renovating Hartnett Hall.
Also included in the bill is $75 million to the Department of Water Resources for water infrastructure projects, $5 million to State Parks for grants to local park districts for renovation and upgrades, and another $10 million for deferred maintenance and capital projects.
Lawmakers removed Burgum’s proposal to provide an income tax credit of up to $500 per individual for state tax returns filed for 2021 and 2022, following that action by introducing a separate bill to cut the amount of income tax credit to $350. The bill, HB 1515, passed the House and is to be acted upon in the Senate Friday.