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OMB director concerned about farm economy


The director of North Dakota’s Office of Management and Budget said he has a concern about the effect of the downturn in the agriculture economy on state revenues.

Joe Morrissette said agriculture accounts for about 8 to 12 percent of the income tax collections, plus affects sales taxes. He said 2019 has been a tough year for farmers.

"This is a unique situation, with this much unharvested crop," Morrissette said in an interview.

Morrissette said in some situations, farm income could be stabilized through federal payments.

"I think until we know the extent of the crop that is not harvested, or is damaged and of little value, and the extent of federal support, it will be kind of an unknown," Morrissette said.

Morrissette said he will know more when he convenes the revenue forecasting advisory committee, sometime after the first of the year. He said agriculture is well-represented on that committee.

Morrissette said the meeting would occur before the forecast, scheduled to be released in March. He said that forecast would be the basis for the budget guidelines that would go out to agencies in April.

So far, the state's collections have been over the Legislative forecast by about seven percent. That forecast was issued toward the end of the 2019 Legislature.

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