North Dakota’s Big Spending Crowd Looking To Governor Dalrymple’s Veto For A Bailout

It’s been an interesting legislative session so far. In years past it seemed as though huge spending increases skated through the legislature with little problem. The governor would budget for big increases, the legislature would approve even bigger spending increases, and we’d all sit back and watch the oil revenues pay for it all while the politicians slapped themselves on the back for their prudent policy making.

But this year has been a little different. We still seem on track for a big overall spending increase, but there’s been some push back so far with funding for things like the Centers of Excellence economic development boondoggle being cut and reductions in the growth in the higher education budget.

Now the big government crowd, concerned that the taxpayer gravy train may be slowing if not stopping entirely, are looking to Governor Dalrymple to veto these cuts.

“I think there is going to be some real pressure on Governor Dalrymple,” Democrat Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor told “There will be some legislation hitting his desk that is going to be in real danger of being vetoed.”

“There is always a chance of a veto,” university system Chancellor Bill Goetz told Scott Hennen. “The Governor sees a strong connection between our economic success and the success of our state and education. I believe that he had that in mind when he wrote his budget.”

Keep in mind that back when Governor Dalrymple announced his budget, Democrat House Minority Leader Jerome Kelsh, speaking for his caucus, said “Our biggest job is to see that he follows through with those proposals.” This was echoed by Democrat Rep. Lee Kaldor who said, ““Our job is to ensure that he stands behind, not only his budget but his vision as well.”

In other words, the liberals love Governor Dalrymple’s big-spending budget. And when the majority Republicans make even modest reductions to that budget, the liberals and spend-every-penny crowd look to the Governor to protect them.

And keep in mind that a lot of the spending being cut or reduced – the massive higher education budget and the Centers of Excellence program as two examples – were things Governor Hoeven championed before Dalrymple. And now when those things are targeted for spending reductions or cuts, it’s the Democrats who come out of the woodwork to defend them (standing along side a whole lot of liberal Republicans).

I keep hearing about what a conservative state North Dakota is. We’re not conservative at all. We’re a state run by Democrats who call themselves Republicans in order to fool the electorate.


Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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