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OMB director says state revenues took a dive because of COVID, but the state is still okay

North Dakota’s Budget Director said the state is still projected to end the current two year period with money in the bank.

Joe Morrissette told the Legislature’s interim Government Finance Committee, earlier projections had the bank balance at around $200 million on June 30, 2021 – the end of the biennium. But Morrissette said the numbers reported in May were not looking good.

"For the month of May, we saw sales tax that was short of the original Legislative forecast by 35%, or $27 million," Morrissette said. "That's the worst month that we've seen."

Morissette said those numbers reflect April collections. He said he expects that to be the "bottom." But he told the Committee the original estimate the Legislature had for an ending fund balance was $44 million.

"We're still very positive we can expect an ending fund balance of almost $90 million," Morrissette said. "That reflects the revenues through May, and assumes we will track close to the Legislative forecast for every subsequent month through the remainder of the biennium."

Morrissette said he thinks North Dakota is one of the few states that still projects a positive ending fund balance.

"It's great to be in that position," Morrissette said.

Morrissette also told the committee the next state revenue forecast will likely be released in August.

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