By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A budget analyst told North Dakota lawmakers Tuesday that the state will likely see “rough sailing” early in the year but there’s reason for optimism in the long run.

In his revenue forecast to the House and Senate appropriations committees, Curtis Smith of IHS Markit analysts said revenues could lag for up to six months. North Dakota’s oil tax revenue plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic, falling more than $875 million behind a forecast for the 2019-21 budget cycle.

“We’re going to see a good recovery at the end of 2021,” Smith said, “but it’s going to be rough sailing for these first few months of 2021.”

The IHS forecast for general fund revenue based on projections for four top tax types is about 10% higher than an executive branch outlook, The Bismarck Tribune reported. IHS sees a baseline of about $3.16 billion while the executive budget forecast pegs about $2.87 billion.

Legislative Senior Fiscal Analyst Adam Mathiak said the IHS report was completed after the state version and allowed the opportunity to account for impacts of improved oil prices and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

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