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Letter: About that “special” session

By Staff | Aug 12, 2016

“Special Session” seems to be the buzz word around North Dakota the past few weeks. It is obvious that the ND Legislature is not called back into a special session very often, so when this happens it is a signal that there are some serious issues that must be addressed, immediately. This current budget deficit the State of ND faces is just that, a very serious issue.

I was in attendance throughout the session and hearings in Bismarck and I gleaned some important facts and predictions for the financial future of our state.

The initial Bill to balance the budget, presented by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, was intended to avoid wholesale across the board cuts in favor of more strategic cuts and access reserves as a bridge to the next session. It moved forward being met with some very insightful amendment proposals from the Democratic caucus.

The Democratic plan would have kept $56 million of federal funding available for rural hospitals, health programs and nursing homes and still leave the state with the same ending fund balance proposed by the Governor. It was defeated in the Senate on a party line vote and defeated in committee in the House on a party line vote.

Citizens of District 6, our small rural hospitals, healthcare programs, clinics and nursing homes operate on very tight budgets. Losing those federal matching dollars will directly affect their abilities to offer continued care at the current level offered or even worse, may force the closure of facilities and programs we all count on to provide healthcare or long-term care, right here in our home communities. This will have an adverse effect on you and me, in one way or another. Please don’t buy into the statements that the impact of losing this federal match money will be minimal or disregard this as if everything will be OK! This is a very serious issue we face, right here and now.

People are already feeling the impact of low commodity prices and declining oil activity. The upcoming 2017-2019 ND Legislative Session will hold many tough decisions, pitting priorities such as the funding mentioned above, against other state spending to balance the state budget.

My colleagues and I are dedicated to make decisions that count for our neighbors in District 6 and for a better managed state. I strongly believe that North Dakota and its citizens can weather this ecomonic storm and fare well as we move forward, but it won’t be without hard work.

Please VOTE on Nov. 8 and make wise choices in voting for two ND State Representatives and a Senator from District 6 who not only have the common sense, wisdom and knowledge but can and will work effectively with others to make sensible decisions in all matters that impact us not only today but far into the future.

Jeannie Brandt


District 6 ND House of Representatives Candidate

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