Burgum: More collaboration among state agencies in budgeting process

Mar 29, 2018

Gov. Doug Burgum speaks to elected and appointed state agency heads (3/38/18).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum wants to see more collaboration among state agencies when it comes to building budgets.

Next month, Burgum will release his budget guidelines for state agencies for the 2019-2021 biennium. State agencies will build their budget requests based on those guidelines. But Burgum told representatives of agencies during a meeting in Bismarck Wednesday agencies sometimes have similar responsibilities, but their own budgets for certain programs and issues, such as addiction treatment. And he wants agencies to be more collaborative.

"One of the things that I've come to understand in my time here is, the way we do budgeting in this state is driven at an agency level," Burgum said. "Agencies are budgeted in silos. And sometimes within an agency, there are silos within silos."

So Burgum is proposing that the agencies work with the Office of Management and Budget to streamline some things – and find ways to better serve their clients.

"We have to get outside of our comfort zone," Burgum said. "We have to figure out a way to talk to each other, as opposed to about each other."

Burgum said this would be a different way of approaching budgets – something that isn’t found in any other state government.

"We want to start the conversation," Burgum said. "Instead of saying, 'This is an impossible dream,' we want to have a conversation on how we can be the first state to actually have a budgeting process, a strategic planning process and a financial system that would allow us to get at the true cost of the real issues facing our citizens."

Burgum said while the state’s economy has improved after the 2017 Legislative session – which saw virtually every state agency take significant budget cuts – it still isn’t back to where it was during the oil boom. So he says the state should try to find efficiencies where it can.