Budget writers will look at new forecasts from Moody's, IHS

Mar 12, 2019

House and Senate Appropriations Committee members hear presentation from Moody's Analytics.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Legislature’s budget writers are looking at new budget forecasts for the upcoming biennium over the next couple of days.

One forecast comes from Moody’s Analytics, the firm the state’s Office of Management and Budget uses. The other is from IHS Markit, hired by the Legislature.

Moody's made its presentation Monday.

OMB told the House and Senate Appropriations Committees the state is forecasted to have an extra $38.5 million in the general fund for the current two-year period, which ends July 30th. That forecasts projects another $121.4 million for the next biennium, compared to the numbers the Committees adopted in January.

OMB director Joe Morrissette said oil tax collections are also projected to be up from that Legislative forecast.

"This forecast would provide an extra $140 million in the current biennium, and an extra $891 million next biennium," Morrissette said. "That's total additional revenue of $1 billion."

House Appropriations Committee chairman Jeff Delzer (R-Underwood) said he’s concerned that the OMB forecast may be too optimistic.

"I don't see the growth they're expecting," Delzer said. "It scares me to forecast the oil that high. And the sales tax is pretty high."

Delzer said he's waiting for the IHS numbers. Then both Appropriations committees will come up with their numbers -- and those will drive spending decisions. The two committees plan to make that decision later this week.