BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Office of Management and Budget is following through on the Burgum administration’s pledge to improve the state’s revenue forecasting system to make it more accurate and ensure taxpayer resources are being used most efficiently.
One of those changes will play out Monday in a first-of-its-kind “business and industry input” meeting between OMB officials and representatives of the Greater North Dakota Chamber (GNDC) and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. The meeting will bring together major employers and business and industry leaders from the state’s largest metro area to give feedback and input on the forecast assumptions.
“This is a new level of local input that we haven’t received before in the forecast process,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “It’s just one of many proactive steps OMB Director Joe Morrissette and his highly capable team are taking to examine and improve the forecasting process, which our administration identified as a priority from the outset.”
Other steps taken by OMB to improve the forecasting process have included:
- Expanded membership on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Forecasting to create a more diverse group that has broad representation of North Dakota industry groups and additional subject matter experts. This will provide more meaningful and relevant input on the forecast assumptions and variables. The added members represent the GNDC, Lignite Energy Council, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, Job Service North Dakota and the North Dakota Census Office.
- Ongoing collaboration with Moody’s Analytics to develop a long-term forecast for North Dakota, extending the forecast horizon from three years to five years. This will allow for budget decisions to be considered with a more long-term view that extends beyond the upcoming budget period and includes a look at impacts for the subsequent biennium as well. This is considered a best practice and has not been done before in North Dakota.
- Incorporating alternative forecast scenarios or stress tests to fully vet the forecast and better understand the impact of economic changes. This is also considered a best practice and has not been done before in North Dakota.
- Incorporating regional modeling to recognize the dichotomy of the North Dakota economy between west and east, rural and urban, and develop a forecast that better reflects different growth rates in different regions and economic sectors.
- Continuous analysis and revision of the forecast model and assumptions in order to improve the forecast and evolve the model to match changes in the North Dakota economy.
The latest OMB revenue report, released Friday, shows general fund revenues for the 2017-19 biennium through August are tracking 3.9 percent, or $105 million, ahead of the May 2017 legislative forecast.
Monday’s business and industry input meeting will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber Board Room at 202 1st Ave. N., Moorhead, Minn.