Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
The first meeting of the Government Finance Interim Committee, to which I’ve been assigned, was held August 2nd. Senator Ron Sorvaag (R-Fargo) is the chair.
The main task of the committee is to fulfill several legislative studies pased in the most recent session and chosen by legislative management.
The three biggest studies are to review the volatility of the state’s revenue sources and see what can be done to better plan and deal with it, to review the current operations of the state fleet of 3,700 vehicles and find potential cost savings, and to look at the current funding mechanisms for the DOT (largely federal and state gas taxes).
In the case of the last study, it appears some are in favor of increasing the state gas tax (currently 23 cents per gallon) in order to boost funding for road projects. One positive statistic is that less than 10% of the state’s roads are categorized as being in poor condition, less than half of what it was several years ago. Some are of the opinion that taxes need to be raised in order to do more, however.
It was reported in committee that June tax revenues came in $28 million (25%) above forecast. That’s a change from the downtrend we’ve had most months the past couple of years. Moody’s Analytics classifies the state as being in the final stages of recession, with the main criteria being jobs lost or gained, and they’ve downgraded the state’s credit rating to AA1 (one level below a perfect AAA rating).
As always, I welcome and appreciate your communications with me, as we study issues in the Interim and prepare for the 2019 legislative session.
District 4 Senator
*Jordan Kannianen is a Senator from District 4. Jordan serves on the Education and Political Subdivisions Committees.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com
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