No recommendations from a study of revenue volatility in ND

Nov 16, 2018

The chairman of the Legislature’s interim committee on Government Finance said revenue volatility is a given, in North Dakota's commodities-based economy.

The 2017 Legislative session authorized the study, after lawmakers had to make significant cuts in state spending. The Government Finance Committee was assigned the study.

The chairman -- Sen. Ron Sorvaag (R-Fargo) said the committee didn’t make any recommendations on that issue for the 2019 session.

"We have reserves," Sorvaag said. "We budget conservatively. That's a good way to handle it."

Sorvaag said there's always the opportunity for lawmakers to come back to Bismarck for a special session.

"That's what we did last year," Sorvaag said.

Sorvaag said no matter what bills or rules lawmakers could come up with, no one has a "crystal ball," especially in a state like North Dakota.

"We're commodities based," Sorvaag said. "That's not going to change for a long time."

Sorvaag said the state is working to diversify the economy, but that takes time.

"We're never going to get rid of being a commodities-based state, at least not in my lifetime," Sorvaag said. "I think it's something we need to live with."

Sorvaag said the Legislature and voters have created a number of “rainy day” funds that help during times when commodity prices are low.

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