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Wardner: No appetite to spend general fund balance during Nov. special session

North Dakota's Senate Majority Leader doesn't see much support — if any — to dip into the state's general fund surplus, when lawmakers meet in special session this November.

The session will deal with redistricting, and how to spend $1 billion from the American Recovery Plan Act — the latest federal COVID-19 relief money.

As part of what he called his "Accelerate North Dakota" plan, Gov. Doug Burgum proposed using $207 million of the more than $1.1 billion ending fund balance for income tax relief. Another $100 million would go toward economic development, including the new Clean Sustainable Energy Fund. And $100 million would be a cash infusion into the state pension plan, if the Legislature finishes work on changing that plan from "defined benefit" to "defined contribution."

Sen. Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said there's no appetite for that.

"Personally, I think we should save that for the regular session, coming up in '23," Wardner said.

Burgum has asked his supporters to call legislators, telling them to encourage support for those spending proposals.