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North Dakota state revenue well ahead of projections

December 20, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota state revenue is looking good five months into a two-year budget cycle.

The Bismarck Tribune reports general fund revenues are 10% ahead of the Legislature’s forecast. That’s about $106 million, according to an update to North Dakota lawmakers last week.

State budget director Joe Morrissette told a legislative panel last week that it’s “a very positive story” but said a single negative month could quickly wipe that away. He also noted the forecast was conservative.

Oil prices are averaging about 30% above what was forecast. That’s a boost for oil taxes, a big part of the state budget. Sales taxes, the biggest part of general fund revenue, are about 11% ahead of forecast.

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The state’s emergency fund is at nearly $750 million, a near record. The fund is for offsetting revenue shortfalls. It’s funded from excess general fund money every two years.

The finance committee also got an update on money North Dakota could receive from the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill over the next five years. Preliminary estimates total $2.5 billion of potential funding available for North Dakota, including $2 billion for transportation. Many spending deadlines are unknown.

That money could be used for improvements to drinking water infrastructure, air quality and highway safety.