One of the most interesting stories of the aftermath of the tax legislation is the race to pay property taxes this year in many states so they still qualify for deductions. Clearly this is a big issue for those living in high tax states. The images are amazing when you think about it. When was the last time you saw a line of people to pay their taxes well before the due date?
Individual Income Tax Revenue
The latest numbers from the state OMB showed some interesting information regarding taxes, again. Rather than focus on sales tax this time I thought we could branch out into income taxes. Why? Sales tax revenues get the bulk of attention in the media and from me generally and I think branching out is important. Another reason is as the impacts and effects of the oil decline transmit into other sectors more fully, and the state budget cutting starts to fully take effect, we will see other revenues exhibit declines. My interest in the overall forecasting process, if we can call it that, also means we need to branch out into other revenue areas to understand the complete picture of the revenue process. The individual income tax revenue was also almost $20 million short of the forecast in May. With that in mind here is the picture for actual versus forecast individual income tax revenues in North Dakota:
Risks in Revenue Forecasting
I think it hardly needs mentioning again, but I guess I will: the legislative process in North Dakota probably makes it even more important that we have some confidence in our revenue forecasts. Our legislators are meeting for three months to determine budgets for the next two years. There is always the possibility of a special session if need arises, but you want that to be the truly exceptional case. Now I am not suggesting that anyone will ever get the numbers spot on, 100% accurate, but we can get closer.
Not a victory lap
I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I am happy to see somebody else discussing the issue. This Bloomberg article makes excellent points about the issues for North Dakota and several other states experiencing revenue shortfalls.