MINOT, N.D. — If I were asked to pick a single word that might describe this legislative session, I would choose “indulgent.”
Our lawmakers have indulged themselves in spending. While things are fluid at the end of the session, earlier this week a budget update from legislative council showed them on pace for a roughly 25% increase in general fund spending.
There has been a scramble in the closing days to lard up just about every bill not yet passed with earmarks for special projects in various legislative districts, from science centers to development grants. Which may or may not be worthy projects for taxpayer dollars, but suffice it to say they aren’t getting a lot of scrutiny slipped into bills amid the mad dash to sine die.
Our lawmakers have also indulged their petty bigotries and hysterical paranoias with a raft of culture war bills, making this observer wonder if, in addition to revenue forecasts, we also need to start predicting how much our legal bills will be in a given biennium.