state budget

State budget cushion will be larger than expected

Aug 7, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

North Dakota likely has more of a budget cushion as the 2017-2019 biennium begins.

"When the Legislature left town, they anticipated that our ending balance would be about $30 million," said state Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. She said June tax collections were actually $28 million ahead of the budget forecast. And that will make the cushion $58 million.

But Sharp said there's another item that is boosting the bottom line.

A new report shows state revenues tracking very close to the December state revenue forecast.

The numbers are running only about $171,000 behind forecast.

"Budget forecasting is always a tug-of-war between reality and fantasy," said Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "I believe these preliminary numbers indicate reality won out."

Holmberg said when the December forecast was prepared, state lawmakers wanted to be on the conservative side when it came to tax collections.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is proposing to slice another $159 million out of former Governor Dalrymple’s executive budget request.

Burgum met with Legislative leaders Monday (1-16-17). In a statement, Burgum said the continued weakness in tax collections caused him to make further proposed reductions.

"It might not be enough," said Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks), who was at that meeting. "He's using the Dalrymple revenue forecast. We have already reduced that."

The chairman of the North Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee said it appears there will have to be further cuts to former Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s executive budget proposal.

That proposal was given to lawmakers earlier this month.

"Revenue numbers are still slumping," said Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks). "The new, lowered revenue forecast said that by the end of the current biennium, we will have lost $54 million in sales tax income. There are seven months left in the current biennium, and we're already $55 million behind."

Gov budget                                       

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has given state lawmakers his last executive budget proposal.

“It is roughly the equivalent of the budget in 2013-15,” Dalrymple told reporters in a briefing before the budget address.

Total state spending is pegged at $13 billion. Of that, $4.783 billion is general fund.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the state’s Advisory Council on Revenue Forecasting are urging Moody’s Analytics to use“caution” and “be conservative” in preparing the December state forecast.

That’s because state revenues have fallen behind forecast – even the revised forecast issued in July.

"We are beyond the bottom, said Moody's analyst Dan White. "But we are not anywhere close to coming back to the record growth we saw during the oil boom."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has asked state agencies to submit reduced budgets for their 2017-2019 requests.

It would be 90 percent of the budgets approved by the 2015 Legislature. It would not be a ten percent cut from the current allotment levels. Dalrymple earlier ordered an across-the-board 4.05 percent cut.

"Obviously, many of the adjustments made in the allotment process may need to be continued," Dalrymple said. "But agencies are not locked into the decisions they made for the allotment."

Dalrymple: No need for a special session

Apr 6, 2016

Governor Dalrymple says he will not call a special Legislative session.

Dalrymple ordered an across the board four percent budget cut to state general fund agencies, as a weak energy and agriculture economy meant lower tax collections.

Democratic Legislative leaders sent Dalrymple a letter, urging him to call lawmakers back to Bismarck, and having them deal with some of the budget issues. But Dalrymple says there’s no need for it.

North Dakota State budget director Pam Sharp says when agencies are given their budget guidelines, it will be based on the amount the 2015 Legislature appropriated – and not the reduced budget levels following a January revenue forecast.

As a result of the revenue forecast, state general fund agency budgets were reduced 4.05 percent. That was the allotment amount ordered by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple says he’s happy with the way his agency heads have responded to the budget allotments.

Faced with lower than anticipated tax revenues, Dalrymple ordered general fund agencies to slice 4.05 percent from their budgets.