North Dakota Revenues Drop $41.7 million

North Dakota Revenues Fall
North Dakota Revenues Fall

North Dakota revenues have taken a deep dive this year but the state still ranks as a fiscal model.

Related: N.D. Legislative Session Ends

Low oil prices and fewer drilling rigs are being blamed for a drop in North Dakota's general revenues that fell to $41.7 million during July and August. But with prudent spending by lawmakers and a continued surplus, this is not devastating news. Rather, House Majority Leader Al Carlson framed it as a “real wake-up call."

This week, the Chicago-based think tank, Truth in Accounting, named North Dakota the nation’s second-best fiscal health in 2014. The agency reports that the taxpayer surplus has more than tripled since 2009, from $8,300 to $28,400 per taxpayer.

State Office of Management and Budget Director Pam Sharp commented, “We have a really strong amount of reserves that are available, and the budget that we have for 2015-17, we really took into account that we were going to have less money.

At the beginning of 2015, North Dakota lawmakers basically started over by pulling apart Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s proposed budget. They were forced to make some difficult decisions regarding spending cuts, while finding the money to fund  important projects.

Signs of concern for the state:

  • North Dakota's “hidden debt” of more than $300 million in pension liability and $43 million in retiree health care liability
  • Job Service North Dakota reports seeing a 40% increase in unemployment insurance claims sicne this time last year
  • The state currently has 70 active rigs as of Thursday, down from 193 just a year ago.