Currently viewing the category: "Personal Income"

What can I say. Unbelievable! Flabbergasted! Can you believe this? Nothing in all the years I have been doing these statistics has ever approached what I present here.

I understood post flood. I even understood what was happening last year. But this, it is hard to believe. We know that the state is putting a lot of money into UND with the law school, the eating hall, and the medical school, but commercial spending for new buildings and for repairs/remodeling is down by three fourths that amount (about a $24 million decrease to a $32 million increase) and to date, only one-half the way through the year, Grand Forks is nearly 45 percent ahead of last year in building permit value. Remember, last year set a record by 50 percent compared to the next closest year.

The East Grand Forks data is not ready yet. I will present it when I can, but what I want to do is combine several of these charts I have done lately involving Grand Forks specifically in comparison to other cities in the state, and the upper northern plains where that is possible.

I mean things like this,city sales taxes, and job growth. What is causing things like this? What do people know that maybe we are not aware of.

It may be that Grand Forks is entering into an exciting economic time. Remember, economist talk about leading economic indicators. What could be a better indicators than investing in large scale capital items?

 

First, I have made three postings today. There is this report on North Dakota’s General Fund Revenues and Transfers. Below that is the Airline Boardings Report, and finally the most recent Employment/Unemployment report.

Concerning this report, second verse same as the first… Well, at least one thing that can be said about the projections purchased by the state is that they are consistent. That is, the same to be off by the same amount in each category every month.

At least that is the case with the amount they are off for the biennium to date. For a month to month comparison you would find some fairly with swings. For instance, with the individual income tax category they were short by about nine percent. That was blamed on people making the final adjustments on their 2013 income taxes. While that may be a valid reason it means that for the individual income taxes in North Dakota they were off by over 35 percent, and that is too much.

Incidentally, they were off by nearly that exact amount in the same time as the corporate income taxes. Also, in the insurance premium tax.

The worst category was the financial institutions tax. The projections
were off by 100 percent according to the OMB report. That hardly seems possible if any real economic effort was attempted.

Well, ignoring that waste of money, we can be happy that the report continues to very positive concerning North Dakota’s revenue. Even after the legislature’s attempt to cut taxes the state has collected nearly 20 percent more money to date than last biennium. We really are getting to a point where we need to consider some serious tax refunding to this state’s citizens.

 

There is not much to say about this months employment/unemployment table except that all of the northern plains is in relatively good shape.

When I say in relatively good shape the Minnesota unemployment rate has a lot of room for improvement, but compared to much of the nation their unemployment rate is a good improvement over the past three years.

South Dakota, although not as good as their sister state of North Dakota, has a significant improvement over the past few years and usually ranks among the best in the nation. So too Montana, and the oil county I show (Richland) looks like North Dakota.

North Dakota, because of the continuing oil development, remains the best state in the northern plains and the nation in terms of the unemployment rate and the increase in jobs.

That is not just a decrease in unemployment, but a real increase in the number of people working in the state. The other factor different than in most states is that North Dakota continues to have an increase in the average disposable income per capita.

Most states that are back to having the same number of jobs as there was before this recession find that the recovered jobs are paid at a lower rate than the jobs that were lost. In North Dakota, driven by the high wages in the oil patch, essentially all jobs have increased in remuneration. It is probably only those retired on not much more than social security payments whose standard of living has declined. The rest of the population is well ahead from a decade ago.

 

Second verse same as the verse. A little…. You remember the song, and I don’t mean to be repetitive in my comments, but I just have to say this. Although it is not a great amount the legislative forecast at the end of April is off by even more than it was last month.

In total the amount received at the end of April is nearly 9% more than forecast. Last month that figure was 7.1%. The error is nearly 30% more than last month.

You might also remember that OMB said that a lot of the problem would be solved when income tax payers, especially the corporate, sent their final tax reports in and corrected for over payments they had made. Last month the corporate income tax collections were about 42% larger than the projections. This month that figure is about 39%. That is not much. The difference for the individual income taxes is less than 2%.

In sum, individual tax collections are nearly 36% larger than projected collections, and corporate nearly 39% larger. That is a lot.

The only account that is even close is sales tax collections. That is a peculiar account to be close given North Dakota’s still booming economy, and then to miss the income taxes by so much.

Remember, both income taxes were changed and state sales taxes remained the same. Seems to me Economy.com didn’t know how to adjust for changes to the income tax, both corporate and individual.

Finally, I will note again, and hope those in charge of preparing and voting on the next bienniums budget, keep in mind these continuing errors. If not, when the economy, even the growth in the economy, slows down we will find the North Dakota budget in deficit. With the total receipts being only about 9% greater than the projections income would be about $5 million dollars short if the two income tax accounts had been correct just to this point in the biennium, or $12 million at the end of the biennium if the North Dakota economy stays like this. We easily could handle that, but if it continues through the time that will amount to a significant amount-something unnecessary.

 

Another month and another opportunity to see how fortunate North Dakota has been for these past few years, and how far off they are in the projections of revenues they have purchased.

First of all, concerning the revenues, even after some very large tax cuts put in place by the last legislative session and signed by the Governor, revenues are up by nearly 21 % compared to the same time as the last biennium.

Now that is just over 7 % of the projected amounts. Compared to what we thought we purchased some will say that is pretty good, at least compared to previous projections. However, as always, the devil is in the details, and I don’t think that is so good.

Sales taxes are off by less than 4 % and that is not bad. Auto purchases, or the revenues from them are off by less than 11 % and that isn’t bad either.

The other big categories are corporate and individual income taxes and they are off about 37 % and 42 %. That is, the revenues from these taxes are that much more than expected and yet the total revenue is only up about 7 %. That means that without those large amounts of extra revenue we would be in a deficit situation and that would be a critical situation, a very critical deficit situation. If the economy slows down with three fourths of the biennium left North Dakota will need its reserve revenues and the psychological effects of that will be very difficult on its economy.

I do not want to be the boy who cried wolf, but I think this proves again the critical need to get a better economic projection. We are, I think, living off our good fortune. We can not continue doing this, or so I think.