The North Dakota Senate removes 400 million dollars from a budget targeted at helping oil country.
A common priority for North Dakota legislators when they started their work this session was to send money to the western part to make up for impacts they have from oil development.
But today in the Senate, a sign that common goal may be disjointed.
The Senate guts the bill designed to send money to cities, counties, schools and hospitals in oil country.
<< The North Dakota Senate has gutted a proposal to send $1.2 billion to oil country.
(Sen. Bill Bowman / (R) Bowman) "It's a direct hit to the very people that are making this state affluent."
The amendment Senators passed removes 1/3 of the funding in the House bill.
Which equals over $400 million in reductions.
(Bowman) "I'm going to oppose the amendments because lack of understand of the real need."
Under the Senate's revised version of the oil impact funding bill: funding to counties remains about the same, but cities get half of what was originally proposed.
(Sen. John Andrist / (R) Crosby) "We have also taken out 2/3 of the money that was allocated for schools. It concerns me that we are whacking this money out."
The amendment also removed $40 million for law enforcement, EMS and Fire and removed funding for hospitals and long term care in oil country...
(Andrist) "Pay 30 million to save ducks but telling hospitals to figure it out on your how to save people."
(Sen. Dwight Cook / (R) Mandan ) "This bill has a long journey and we'll take the journey and do it right."
Members of the Senate Finance and Tax committee say the reductions will be put back in other bills.
(Sen. Connie Triplett / (D) Grand Forks) "We did a good thing in committee in cleaning up the structure and delivery method of the dollars but in the end we are asking you to have faith that the money will come back through the appropriations committee in a variety of other bills."
(Sen. Jim Dotzenrod / (D) Wyndmere) "It is a matter of priorities and from my point of view that's why I'm going to vote no on these amendments."
Many Senators have a problem voting for a bill that removes funding for so many needs.>>
The Senate Appropriations committee will hear the bill next week and the full Senate will have another chance to vote on the bill at a later time.
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