state budget | Prairie Public Broadcasting

state budget

November’s revenue collections were slightly behind forecast.

Driving that were sales tax and individual income tax.

But North Dakota’s budget director said that could be more of a timing issue than anything. Joe Morrissette said that’s because the last days of the month of November fell on a weekend.

"As the businesses make those payments and deposits, they typically make the payments on the last calendar day of the month," Morrissette said. "And when that day falls on a weekend, those collections are, for the most part, accounted for in the following month."

OMB director concerned about farm economy

Dec 2, 2019

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.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is making a few changes to the budgeting process for state agencies.

Burgum unveiled the changes at what’s been called a “JEL” meeting – “JEL” standing for “Judicial, Executive and Legislative.” He told the agency heads and state employees attending, he wants to start a "strategic planning project."

"Strategy has to drive budget," Burgum said.

A long way from zero.

Two years ago, state Legislators had to spend down the state’s budget stabilization fund – to balance the budget, during a state revenue downturn.

Now, thanks to an improved state economy, and robust state tax collections, that fund is being replenished.

"The most current estimate, through the end of May, would be about $450 million," said state Office of Management and Budget director Joe Morrissette. "About $150 million more than what was assumed in the March, 2019 Legislative forecast."

OMB director: Strategy review meetings successful

Aug 6, 2018

The director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget said OMB has finished a series of “strategy review” meetings with executive branch agencies.

Joe Morrissette said it was no small feat, as agencies met with OMB as they were working on their budget proposals for inclusion in the Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget for the 2019 session.

Morrissette called the meetings were very positive, and agencies came with a lot of good ideas.

"It's a starting point."

That's how Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks), the chairman of the North Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee, characterizes the budget guidelines laid out to state agencies.

Burgum has called for more reductions – 5 percent for smaller agencies, 10 percent for the larger ones, plus a five percent reduction in state government workers. K-12 education and Medicaid are spared cuts.

Holmberg said a lot can happen between now and the 2019 Legislature.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum wants to see more collaboration among state agencies when it comes to building budgets.

Next month, Burgum will release his budget guidelines for state agencies for the 2019-2021 biennium. State agencies will build their budget requests based on those guidelines. But Burgum told representatives of agencies during a meeting in Bismarck Wednesday agencies sometimes have similar responsibilities, but their own budgets for certain programs and issues, such as addiction treatment. And he wants agencies to be more collaborative.

Revenue collections 'on track' with budget forecast

Mar 8, 2018

The new director of the Office of Management and Budget had what he called "good news" for the Legislature's interim Government Finance Committee.

"I'm happy to say my first official report as director of OMB contains good news," Joe Morrissette told the Committee. "We are continuing to track very closely to our Legislative revenue forecast."

Morrissette has been on the job since March First. He replaced Pam Sharp, who retired. He told the Committee revenues exceed the May, 2017 forecast by about 1.7 percent since July first, the start of the new fiscal year.

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.