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#zerobarriersWhat’s Wrong Wednesday

What’s Wrong Wednesday: Why Does North Dakota Make People Hurt When There Are So Many Specialized Funds

By April 6, 2016No Comments

N.D. has many funds that won’t be cut 4.05 percent

on Mar 8, 2016

Most of you who read this letter do not know what it’s like to have a disability. You don’t know what it’s like to have your child on a waiting list for a year to receive autism services. But imagine the heartbreak when North Dakota recently cut the new autism waiver slots (yes they call them slots so they don’t have to think about people) as part of the recent budget cuts. And that is just one area that was reduced when the Department of Human Services sliced $53.9 million from the budget.

The odd thing is, we have a lot of money stuck around in various nooks and crannies of state government. There are 38 funds — some mandated by the constitution and some by statute. One, of course, is the general fund, which has the shortfall. One is the budget stabilization fund that will make up the shortfall after the agencies kick in their 4 percent. One is the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund, which the governor will use to make the education budget whole. The Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust works to keep tobacco products away from our kids. Some of the funds make perfect sense.

But, we have over $100 million in a Strategy Investment and Improvement Fund to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government.” There is $60 million in the State Disaster Relief Fund and $300 million in a Tax Relief Fund. And don’t forget the $3.4 billion in the Legacy Fund.

So my question is, why do we have to make our people hurt when we have so many specialized funds, most of which will not be cut 4.05 percent?

State funds are listed on the North Dakota website at

(Wurtz is president of The Arc of North Dakota.)


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