Gov. Doug Burgum has given state agencies their budget guidelines for the 2019-2021 biennium.
This comes on the heels of the significant budget reductions enacted by the 2017 Legislature, where the budget was balanced by cutting general fund spending from $6 billion to $4.3 billion.
"It was paired with the use of every available dollar from various savings and reserve accounts," Burgum told the department heads. "We have to continue to pursue a vision of a leaner and more responsive state government."
So Burgum told the agencies they will have to find more reductions. For smaller agencies, it would be a 5 percent cut; for larger agencies, a 10 percent cut. K-12 and Medicaid spending would be exempt.
But Burgum said he wants state agency heads to start meeting – and see if there are ways to end duplication of programs between the agencies.
"We need to evolve to a whole government approach, a group that works as one, not as individual silos," Burgum said.
Burgum said his intent is to encourage collaboration – and find new and innovative ways to deliver government services.
"Like our innovative farmers who harvest crops and add value by processing them into all sorts of products, we need agencies to think about how they're going to harvest dollars from existing budgets, and reinvest those dollars," Burgum said.
Burgum said agencies should also look for overall staff reductions of about 5 percent. But he told the department heads there’s enough turnover in the agencies that some of those reductions could be fulfilled by not replacing staff who resign or retire.