Taxable sales and purchases down 24 percent in 2016

Mar 30, 2017

Taxable sales and purchases were down 24 percent for 2016.

Revenues totaled 17.3 billion dollars in 2016, down from 22.9 billion in 2015. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says the results were not unexpected, given the current budget situation in North Dakota. He says most of the decreases come from western North Dakota as the oil sector remains slow, as well as the agriculture sector. He says sales of new farm equipment is down and prices for commodities remain low. He says eastern North Dakota is down too, but not to the same extent. Rauschenberger says many local communities are evaluating what they can do to offset these losses.

"We're at 2010, 2011 levels, which was kind of early in the Bakken boom. So we're kind of in a new reset, essentially, where the North Dakota economy is starting to flatten out. We know where we're at now, when it comes to where prices are going to land and how much products are being sold in the economy. And from a budgeting standpoint, we are looking at that very closely - and basically having to reset the sales tax base of North Dakota, which local cities and counties base a lot of their budgets on."

But Rauschenberger says he expects 2017 to be better.

"From this point on we do expect to see some modest growth - not the 20, 30, 40 percent growth we saw in 2011, 2012, and 2013 - but the more reasonable, sustainable growths of 5 or 10 percent. So that's what we're really hoping for and looking at as we move forward throughout 2017 and 2018."

The only sectors to show increases were in arts, entertainment and recreation.