January 12, 2016

The state of the economy:Legislators share thoughts

By STU MERRY

BHG News

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Or is it?

A recent report by Moody’s Analytical said the state is headed for a full-blown recession.

A general fund revenue shortfall of more than $153 million is due, mostly to a decline in sales tax collections. The downturn in sales tax comes from a decline in oil-related purchases, including the non-completion of oil and gas wells.

Because of the shortfall, the state has requested a new revised revenue forecast from Moody’s. That forecast is expected late in January.

A recommendation is to implement an across the board budget cut of up to 2.5 percent to all state agencies that receive money from the general fund.

If it turns out the 2.5 percent cut isn’t enough, the general fund shortfall could get a transfusion of dollars from the budget stabilization fund. That purse has about $572 million.

State officials said K-12 funding will not be impacted as money is available in the foundation aid stabilization fund. That pocket book has about $643 million.

So, is the sky falling?

Two area legislators weigh in on what’s ahead for the North Dakota economy.


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