Gov. Burgum releases budget guidelines for 2019-2021

Apr 18, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum has given state agencies their budget guidelines for the 2019-2021 biennium.

This comes on the heels of the significant budget reductions enacted by the 2017 Legislature, where the budget was balanced by cutting general fund spending from $6 billion to $4.3 billion.

"It was paired with the use of every available dollar from various savings and reserve accounts," Burgum told the department heads. "We have to continue to pursue a vision of a leaner and more responsive state government."

New state revenue forecast coming at the end of Oct.

Sep 28, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

There will be an updated North Dakota state revenue forecast.

It will most likely be available toward the end of October.

"In the past, we always did three revenue forecasts per biennium," said state Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. "But in light of everything that's going on, we've decided we should do four in a biennium."

Sharp said the new forecast is important, in light of drought conditions over parts of North Dakota. But she said it’s also a good practice to have more frequent forecast updates.

State's bond rating unchanged

Aug 3, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

Moody’s Investor Services has decided to keep North Dakota’s bond rating at AA-1.

But it's with a negative watch.

"Less than a year ago, Moody's put us on a negative watch," said Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. "That means things aren't going great, so Moody's will look to see if things are getting better."

Sharp said the agency decided not to make a change.

"they're not ready to downgrade us, that's for certain," Sharp said.

State income tax collections down

Jun 26, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

The latest report from the Office of Management and Budget shows income tax collections in May were about $19.8 million lower than the March revenue forecast.

"We have found that there were about 28,000 fewer filers than had filed in the previous year," said OMB director Pam Sharp. "Of those filers, the average adjusted gross income went from $71,000 to $68,500 per return."

Sharp said that reflects the slowdown in the state’s oil economy in 2016.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A new state revenue forecast shows tax collections will be about $46 million less than what lawmakers had expected in January for the current biennium.

It also shows a $103 million shortfall for the 2017-2019 biennium.

The big driver – lower than expected sales tax revenue.

Courtesy ND Legislature

House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved a revenue forecast that’s slightly less than the December forecast.

It anticipates $170 million less in the general fund. But it is an “interim” prediction, as a new full forecast will be released in March.

"It respects reality," said Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "There is less money coming in. And we can anticipate less money coming in at this stage."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

House and Senate Appropriations Committees will look at two spending bills for each agency.

One bill is the proposal from Governor Dalrymple’s executive budget – the other represents a Legislative budget.

"I've been trying to getb this through for years," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "I think it's the right way to budget."

Carlson said the Legislature needs to be more involved in the budget building process.

Burgum: More spending reductions possible

Dec 19, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum said it's likely the state budget will have to be reduced from what former Gov. Jack Dalrymple proposed in his executive budget.

Burgum said he's already told his cabinet any amendments to that budget would likely mean cuts.

"We may see greater opportunities for efficiencies, so we may want to tackle some of those over the next two years," Burgum said in an interview. He also said he will take a very close look at revenue forecasts.

A proposal in former Gov. Jack Dalrymple's executive budget would eliminate the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy agency -- also known as "Breathe ND."

It would move the functions into the state Health Department.

"To totally eliminate an agency that has seen such incredible results in almost cutting youth smoking in half took us by surprise," said agency director Jeanne Prom.

The agency was created in 2008 after North Dakota voters passed an initiated measure. It is funded by the master tobacco lawsuit settlement.

State revenues for August were lower than the budget forecast.

The revenues were $9 million below forecast. Since fiscal 2017 started in July, net revenues are down $7.5 million.

"I think we can all say we had hoped we would have done a little better this month than we did," the chairman of the Legislature's interim Goverment Finance Committee, Rep. Jeff Delzer (R-Underwood) said at a meeting Wednesday.