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Energy Industry Contributes to North Dakota's Budget Surplus

Dec/Jan 09
Paul Lucy, director of the Division of Economic Development and Finance, North Dakota Department of Commerce, says that after the last biennial budget of approximately $2.5 billion, North Dakota's projected budget surplus was estimated at $1.2 to $1.3 billion. "That means we don't need to increase revenues by increasing taxes," he says.

The energy industry shows the most promise of the industry sectors, encompassing renewable fuels, ethanol, biodiesel, oil, and coal. Completed projects in the wind sector total almost $1 billion of investment, with $573 million more under construction and announced or proposed projects totaling $10 billion. Oil companies are exploring new techniques to efficiently extract oil from the Bakken Formation, an oil-bearing area spanning parts of North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

To encourage economic development, the July 2007 legislature expanded the research and development tax credit in North Dakota so companies are eligible to receive 25 percent of the first $100,000 of their qualified expenses, and 20 percent of the qualified expenses in excess of 100,000. Certain companies have the option to assign, trade, or sell those tax credits. Lucy notes that the Centers of Excellence program has resulted in research activities that lead to private sector business development.