North Dakota has seen government revenue increase dramatically in the last 10 plus years which has led to more increased state spending. A new audit is now showing where the money is going.
State agencies, public universities and school districts rely on purchasing cards to send their staffers everywhere from Fargo to France.
P-cards, as they’re commonly called, act almost as company credit cards for government entities. They allow public employees to pay for everything from plane tickets to office supplies without checks or reimbursements. In 2018, the 180 enrolled public entities spent a combined total of more than $123 million using p-cards. A previous Forum News Service article introduced the state’s p-card program and explained how it benefits enrolled entities.
Paying for travel-related expenses is one of the most common uses for p-cards across all enrolled entities.
While there is no exact figure for the amount spent by public employees on travel-related costs, Forum News Service’s analysis of transaction data found at least $44.3 million spent on airfare, train tickets, lodging, car rentals and travel agency services using purchasing cards since the beginning 2016.
The state’s two largest universities far outspent other public entities on travel-related costs, accounting for nearly 45% of the total amount.
Public employees frequently end up in the Twin Cities or Chicago for conferences, but transaction records reveal that Las Vegas is one of the most popular out-of-state destinations.
North Dakota’s public entities spent at least $72,500 on hotel rooms at 16 Vegas institutions since the beginning of 2016.
Source: Grand Forks Herald