Amended Dept. of Commerce Budget is Back to 07-09 Biennium Levels

This morning the House had floor debate on Senate Bill 2018, which is the appropriations bill for the Department of Commerce. It was actually an interesting debate that illustrates the various factions that exist on the House side of our legislature.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect that came out of the floor debate was from the bill carrier, Rep. Roscoe Streyle (R – District 3). Rep. Streyle shared with his colleagues in the House that in the 2007-2009 biennium the General Fund was $28.5 million and with House amendments to SB 2018 it currently stands at $29.8 million. A fact that predictably left Democrats in a tizzy.

I’ve long said going into this session that the very least this legislative body could do is to go back to the pre-oil boom budget levels as a good start to ending a horrible spending problem. To see that become a potential reality for the Department of Commerce budget is good to see.

Yet, can they cut even more? Will the 2007-2009 level hold when the bill goes to conference committee with the Senate?

Rep. Rick C. Becker (R – District 7) recognized the work of Rep. Streyle and the House Appropriations Committee on the bill as a "fantastic job", but questioned whether some of the numbers in the budget should be set to zero as they head to conference committee with the Senate, where the numbers are likely to be driven higher.

Rep. Becker went further and questioned the effectiveness of the programs within the bill and called for proof of outcomes from spending taxpayer money on them:

"These programs don’t actually work. They’re in existence perpetually, because politicians continue to think that they can do better. Until there comes a time that the Department of Commerce can actually show that there’s an outcome that’s reliably based on the dollars that we’re putting in, I think that we have to start looking at actually defunding these things."

Unfortunately, Rep. Becker’s call to defeat the bill and look for deeper cuts fell on deaf ears. The bill passed 66 – 25.

As the bill now goes to conference committee with the Senate, we’ll have to hope that the House side does what Majority Leader Al Carlson (R – District 41) encouraged during the floor debate and hold their position. Otherwise, the only way the bottom line on this bill will go is up. And that’s just not acceptable given the already existing waste within the bill and the need to cut out of control spending.

Sources:
1. http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/65-2017/documents/17-0526-03000.pdf
2. House Floor Debate:
http://video.legis.nd.gov/pb3/powerbrowser_Desktop.aspx?ContentEntityId=1921&date=20170406&tnid=28&browser=0

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About T. Arthur Mason 295 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.