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Published September 19, 2012, 03:26 PM

ND Government to Decide Where to Send Revenue Surplus Next Year

New estimates put North Dakota's budget surplus at a staggering $1.6 billion dollars -- almost double early estimates of $850 million.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

New estimates put North Dakota's budget surplus at a staggering $1.6 billion dollars -- almost double early estimates of $850 million.

Governor Jack Dalrymple credits explosive growth in sales tax revenues for much of the increase. Dalrymple says oil exploration in western North Dakota has caused a bigger increase in tax collections than anyone expected. What will be done with the extra revenue will likely be decided when the state legislature meets again next year.

State Senator Mac Schneider says even without this new extra revenue those communities impacted by the oil development out west should be receiving a greater share of oil tax collections to help with growth issues. Schneider says he would also like to see other things done with the budget surplus like creating an endowment fund, where the interest returned could pay for scholarships for students.

When it comes to property tax relief Schneider says he favors an approach that would exempt the first $100,000 from taxation from homeowners’ primary residence and says the state certainly has the funds to do that.

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