I continue to think about the tax situation in North Dakota right now, particularly trying to understand what the data are trying to tell us. Obviously I want to avoid a situation of torturing the data until they confess, but that should not stop us from slicing and dicing the data to find something meaningful.
We are getting a new forecast this week for tax revenues in North Dakota. Or so we are told. I’ve written about the problems with these forecasts in the past, but there is a further issue here needing discussion. The simple fact of the matter is a lack of good practice in the overall approach, particularly with how forecast results are disseminated.
Just a few further thoughts, as yet completely unrefined, about the radio program today. The major discussion on the radio today was taxes. This is always an interesting topic because callers often provide multiple, and often contradictory, views of taxation. It is good that radio is not a visual medium (for many, many reasons) but the confused look on my face when listening to some of the callers would not be taken well I am sure.
Yesterday’s post (found here) mentioned Grand Forks retail and the fact that sales were behind last year’s level. As a recap, the accumulated total of monthly collections in 2016, when compared to the same month in 2015, were all lower, and in some cases by significant amounts. Collections from a few specific months were ahead of the same month the year before, but the accumulated total never got higher than 2015.
Location matters. A lot. The more I read and study about the North Dakota economy the clearer that becomes. As I go through this I am looking more and more at the various locations for economic activity in the state, as the following map demonstrates.