Audio: Lawmaker Rips Burgum Vetoes, Calls Them “Terrible” and “Reckless”

Governor Doug Burgum announced vetoes for parts of nine bills today.

“We deeply appreciate the Legislature’s good work this session, evidenced by the fact I signed 430 bills with no line-item vetoes, including 43 appropriations bills,” he said in a statement announcing the vetoes. “Where I did exercise veto authority, I did so to clearly delineate between executive and legislative powers and to prioritize spending at a time when fiscal restraint is essential.”

You can read his veto statements at this link, but the moves aren’t getting good reviews from some lawmakers. You can read the reactions from House Majority Leader Al Carlson and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner in this article by my colleague Amy Dalrymple (Wardner is largely deferential to Burgum as the Senate typically is to the executive branch).

On my radio show today Rep. Roscoe Streyle, a Republican from Minot and member of the Appropriations Committee, used words like “terrible” and “shocking” and “baffling” to describe Burgum’s actions.

“It’s a $890 million budget with two line items,” Streyle told me, saying that lawmakers wanted to see more details in the budget like other state agencies. “Apparently [Burgum[ believes that isn’t important,” he added.

The audio is below.

Streyle criticized Burgum’s veto pertaining to HB1020, the budget for the state water commission, which he says would have forced the commission to “budget like every other state agency.”

“It’s a $890 million budget with two line items,” Streyle told me, saying that lawmakers wanted to see more details in the budget like other state agencies. “Apparently [Burgum[ believes that isn’t important,” he added.

Streyle called Burgum’s veto pertaining to SB2013, the budget for the University and Lands Board, “reckless” and a “major blow to rural North Dakota.”

He said lawmakers included $16 million in that budget to rural townships outside of the state’s oil patch which have been “left out of some of the money” from oil activity. He said the money was aimed at helping these townships deal with expenses, among them the high cost of snow removal.

Burgum “vetoed all of it,” Streyle said of HB1023 which is related to the Public Employees Retirement System. He said Burgum rejected “every piece negotiated at the end of the session” by the House and the Senate but “not one time did he indicate that he didn’t like” what had passed. Lawmakers had agreed on legislation terminating Sanford’s contract to provide health insurance coverage to state employees in the 2019-2021 biennium and initiated a study into the state self-funding that coverage.

On the budget for Legislative Management, SB2001, Streyle says Burgum violated a campaign promise.

The part vetoed related to the creation of an advisory council aimed at improving the budgeting process. Streyle says Burgum campaigned against the way the state current budgets.

“This one just baffles me, frankly, given what he ran on,” he said.

Here’s the full audio. I’m working on getting Governor Burgum on my show, and it’s looking like maybe Friday or else next week.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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