Interim Committee Updates
Legislative Management met last week to review final reports from interim legislative committees. Overall there were 29 interim legislative committees, they held 140 meetings, and will forward 30 bills and three concurrent resolutions to be reviewed by the legislature in the upcoming session. The chairs of each committee gave their final reports.
Multiple topics were covered but the ones that will take the most attention from the legislature will focus on the budget. North Dakota’s fiscal biennium will end on June 30, 2021, with an ending fund balance of $197 million. Even with the challenges the pandemic brought to the economy, North Dakota will end this biennium in the black. The 2021-2023 biennium is a different story. There is a projected budget shortfall of $735 million without consideration of the cost to continue increases. There are multiple reasons for this projected shortfall but much of it lies within incoming revenue from the oil industry. It is projected that oil taxes will bring in $382 million less than the revised forecasted amount in the 2019-2021 biennium. The cost per barrel in the first year of the biennium will be $34.50 and $36 in the second year, with an average of 1.25 million barrels of production per day. Our state legislature will have significant budget challenges facing them in the upcoming session.