Bismarck, N.D. — State agencies will find themselves frequent shoppers of dollar stores if Governor Burgum’s proposed budget cuts are approved in the upcoming legislative session.
Burgum is recommending a sweeping 80% cut to all state budgets while mandating public schools, universities, agencies and long-term care facilities purchase their supplies from local dollar stores.
Burgum says the cuts are necessary, but shopping for supplies at dollar stores will help agencies evaluate whether or not their expenses are truly necessary.
“If it’s over a buck, you’re out of luck,” says Governor Burgum. “We’re asking anyone who relies on public funding to evaluate whether or not their expenses are necessary. And if an expense is truly necessary, chances are, that item can be found at a dollar store. Dollar stores are the staples of communities big and small across North Dakota. While you may not find exactly what you need at a dollar store, shopping there really flexes critical thinking skills and injects money into our local economies. Where else can you find a 12-pack of pencils, a pocket calculator, a box of Mike N Ikes, duct tape, and a Hot Pocket all for five dollars?”
Some state agencies are already preparing for the sweeping changes. Nancy Thriftnig, an administrative assistant at the North Dakota Department of Labor, says her office is already stockpiling supplies from Bismarck’s local Dollar Tree store.
“This could be a really grim year for public employees, so we purchased as many party supplies as we could to help boost morale year round,” says Thriftning. “We loaded up on ‘Stars N Stripes’ Cola and party streamers. Balloons would have been a nice addition, but it looks like those were wiped out from other state agencies.”
In fact, many local dollar stores have had their shelves emptied in anticipation of Governor Burgum’s sweeping budget cuts.
“All we have left are shower caps and mouthwash,” says a local dollar store manager. “The tax commissioner’s office took the last of our red solo cups.”
Some public employees are dipping into their personal pockets to cover their office expenses. Bismarck State College President Dr. Larry Skogen says Burgum’s cuts are simply unacceptable, forcing him to purchase supplies the state normally covered in the past.
“I dare Governor Burgum to find a sweater vest at a local dollar store. It can’t be found. Keeping up appearances is vitally important to retaining students and staff at Bismarck State College and vitally important to my personal morale.”
Other universities are facing similar dilemmas ahead of Burgum’s dollar store mandate. North Dakota State University has already asked students to bring their own toilet paper when they return from Christmas break.
While the mandates are causing heartache at many state agencies, not everyone is complaining. Secretary of State Al Jaeger says his office will be able to upgrade a lot of its equipment due to the Governor’s dollar store mandate.
“Our office is really excited that we’ll finally be able to purchase coordinating staplers and computer paper. All our office needs now is an actual computer,” says Jaeger.
To sympathize with state agencies, Governor Burgum has promised that his office will also comply with his dollar store mandate.
“I understand that people are upset over my new policy, but sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the greater good, including me,” says Burgum. “That’s why I’ll be presenting this year’s State of the State address on my new Dot Dry Eraser Board, available exclusively at Dollar Tree. I just hope our legislators bring their bifocals. If they don’t have a pair, they’re also available at your local Dollar Tree store.”
More on this story as it develops.