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Riske: Special session welcome, needed

By Staff | Jul 15, 2016

The following guest column comes from the office of Marty Riske, the Libertarian candidate for governor.

Marty Riske, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of North Dakota issued the following statement in response to Governor Jack Dalrymple’s announcement of a special legislative session to begin August 2nd, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.:

“On behalf of all North Dakotans, I would like to thank Governor Jack Dalrymple for promptly and appropriately calling the legislature back into session to pare back their previous overspending to fix North Dakota’s budget situation.

“Last week, I asked Governor Dalrymple to not only call for a special session, but establish a team of budget experts to help right North Dakota’s financial ship.

“I would reiterate the need for that approach as some of the new revenue projection numbers mentioned by Governor Dalrymple seem a little too optimistic at a time when realism and pragmatism is needed. Budgeting should not be a reactive process, it should be based on actual needs not just how much money there is to spend. Republicans have long held a “let’s spend it since we got it” attitude in North Dakota. That’s not how businesses operate and that is not how a state should operate.

“North Dakota’s budget problems are only beginning. While this August special session will correct the current budget’s shortfall, it likely will not have the time to set the next regular legislative session up to have a better starting point. We need to look forward to not only fix the mistakes of the current budget, but prevent this from happening next budget as well.

“While the Governor was making his announcement, I was reading the talking points that Rob Port of the SayAnythingBlog.com posted as written by Republican paid consultant Pat Finken.

“While there are really no surprises in the pre-scripted lines Republicans will be reading from, there are some questions that need to be addressed in a more honest way; specifically those questions regarding the timing of the decision.

“Everything we heard today we knew in February during the last revised numbers. The only difference between then and now is that at that point the Republicans were in a heated 3-way battle for their nomination for governor. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s whole campaign rested on the status quo and the lack of a need to change course. As such, the course could not be changed until after the June Primary election.

“Only days after the June election did OMB Director Pam Sharp announce what many already knew – that the state was on the brink of needing a special session. This was known before the election and obviously did not only get discovered. While it would not have changed the results of the Republican’s internal fight, the voters of North Dakota must remember that this information was only released after the election had taken place. Curious timing to say the least.

“Again, thank you Governor Dalrymple for taking the first step of many to fixing North Dakota’s budget. The current overspending did not happen overnight, and it will not be fixed overnight either.”

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