Governor Burgum's Retirement Task Force watches a demo of Windows Vista at the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Bismarck — Governor Doug Burgum announced a plan to encourage state employees to take early retirements by offering potential retirees a suite of Microsoft products.

Burgum’s plan was announced just days after the 2019-2021 State Budget was revealed which asks for 5-10% cuts in spending. By enticing early retirements, Governor Burgum hopes North Dakota can avoid a budget crisis.

“We’ve reached a critical point in North Dakota, and tough situations need innovative solutions,” says Burgum. “The plan we are announcing today will encourage state employees to retire early, while offering them innovative products to foster forward thinking. What we are offering all state employees today is more than just a retirement, it’s an opportunity to ride curiosity into the sunset.”

State employees who agree to an early retirement will forgo 60% of their pension plan, but will receive a lifetime Windows Vista subscription, a 120 GB Zune music player pre-loaded with Governor Burgum’s favorite hits, a Windows mobile phone (mobile data and service sold separately), a Hotmail account, and access to a revived MSN Messenger chat service.

“Sure, some people might be forced to retire, but they’ll be retiring in style,” says a spokesperson for Governor Burgum. “State employees should know we care deeply about them and the service they’ve rendered the public. With the Governor’s budget cuts, we simply cannot afford to give state employees their full pensions, but we feel by offering employees a suite of gadgets, it’s really an even trade. You can’t put a price on a lifetime subscription to Windows Vista.”

Clint Johnson, a state employee residing in Bismarck, says the Governor’s offer has him reconsidering his retirement plans.

“I was hoping to ride out my employment until I reached 65 years old, but a fully-loaded Zune and Windows Vista is really enticing,” says Johnson. “Sure I’ll miss taking a 15-minute walk six times a day with my co-workers at the state capitol, but I can always just message my friends on MSN to meet at the mall and listen to our Zunes while basking in retirement.”

Burgum says Microsoft offered him an entire warehouse of Zunes and other products to meet the expected demand among state employees.

“Microsoft has a surplus of Zunes and we have a surplus of state employees,” says Burgum. “Using one problem to fix another by capitalizing on existing resources is a capstone of my Main Street Initiative. Now, this mindset is the driving force of our 2019-2021 budget. It’s amazing what can be done when we tackle our challenges with twenty-first century innovation.”

The Flickertail Times is a sattirical news blog featuring all things North Dakota. Feedback? We’d love to hear it. Send it all to: