Yesterday Doug Burgum officially became North Dakota’s Governor. Today he was kind enough to make time for an interview on my radio show, and during out discussion we hit on the state’s budget situation.
It’s a little odd, but due to timing mandated by state law, it was outgoing Governor Jack Dalrymple who earlier this month presented an executive budget to the Legislature for the biennium which will cover roughly the first two years of Burgum’s term. But some lawmakers expressed to me concerns about Dalrymple’s revenue projections in that budget, arguing that they may be too rosy.
Bad revenues projections have plagued Dalrymple’s last two years in office, with downgraded forecasts prompting across the board spending allotments and other adjustments. In our interview, Burgum said he shares concerns that the most recent revenue forecast upon which Dalrymple built his budget may also be too positive.
“I share the legislature’s concern,” Burgum told me, after telling me “the first thing we have to look at is the revenue forecast.”
“If you miss you want to be conservative,” he added.
We also talked about the recent oil spill in western North Dakota involving the Belle Fourche Pipeline. Burgum said he’d support using new technologies – like flying drones along pipeline routes – to help monitor them in the future.
He also talked about the Dakota Access Pipeline situation. “The world changed for this project on November 8 when we got a Republican administration,” Burgum told me, pointing out that the pipeline’s route has been upheld in court twice and describing the current delays to the project’s completion as “political.”
“You would hope…this new administration would want to uphold the rule of law,” he said.
He said he hopes the incoming Trump administration, if they approve the pipeline, would send federal law enforcement resources to handle any renewed protests. He also said he’d like to see the federal government address illegal protest camps on federal property, pointing out that the camp has likely damaged the land.
“You’ve got 5,000 people living in a place with no sewer or water,” he told me.
Here’s the audio: