Legislature Managing the Budget | VideoJennifer Joas | 2/11/2013
You can`t go more than a day in the legislative session, without hearing lawmakers talk about millions of dollars being invested in infrastructure.
"The amount of money that`s out there for infrastructure and getting us ready, and it`ll be there a long time, is something that is a great investment in the state," said Senator Rich Wardner (R) from Dickinson.
The state is planning on spending close to 22 percent of the overall budget on infrastructure projects statewide. There are two different bills on the House and Senate side that would direct more than $500 million to oil country. Lawmakers are also looking at increasing funding when it comes to pay packages for public employees.
"We need to have as good a package as we can with benefits in order to keep these people. It`s kind of tough when you can`t hire someone to run the snow plows out there," Wardner said.
One bill Republican leaders are still catching heat for is one that would decrease oil taxes by two percent in four years.
"You can play politics with the numbers and it`s a break to big oil. But it is none of the above. And quite honestly if I was the oil companies, I wouldn`t have traded away all my exemptions for a promise of a tax cut in 2017," said Representative Al Carlson (R) from Fargo.
Other big appropriations items include tax relief and health care.
The battle will rage on for another two weeks before more than 400 bills need to crossover to the opposing side for review.