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North Dakota sales tax collections continue to increase

A resurgence in North Dakota's Oil Patch spurred the fifth consecutive quarterly gain in sales tax collections, according to state figures. Unlike the oil boom, however, the current oil expansion hasn't fueled increases in the retail sector. Forum file photo

BISMARCK — North Dakota's rebounding sales tax collections continued in the second quarter with receipts that were almost 10 percent higher than the second quarter last year.

Taxable sales and purchases for April, May and June reached almost $5.15 billion, almost 9.5 percent above last year's second quarter, according to figures from the Office of State Tax Commissioner released Monday, Sept. 17.

"This is the second consecutive quarter North Dakota taxable sales and purchases have increased by nearly 10 percent, and the fifth consecutive quarter that we've seen growth in this report," Ryan Rauschenberger, state tax commissioner, said in a statement.

Resurgent Oil Patch communities led the increases. Among the state's six largest cities, Williston led with an increase of 29.3 percent, followed by Dickinson, with an increase of 13.3 percent.

Elsewhere, the quarterly gains were much more modest. Minot experienced an increase of 1.49 percent and Fargo saw an increase of 0.67 percent. Sales tax collections in Bismarck dipped by 2.81 percent, while sales tax collections in Grand Forks dropped by 11.75 percent.

Nine of 15 major sectors reported taxable sales increased from last year's second quarter. Most notably, the mining and oil extraction sector soared by $208 million, or 43.3 percent, and the wholesale trade sector increased by $236 million, or 22.2 percent.

"There was strong growth in both the mining and oil extraction sector and the wholesale trade sector, two sectors associated with the oil industry," Rauschenberger said. "The retail trade sector, the sector often thought of as a measure of economic activity, saw a meager increase." During the oil boom, economic growth produced a rapid increase in population and job creation. But the recent oil expansion has had only a limited impact on retail trade so far, he said.

In the second quarter, retail trade sales taxes totaled $1.6 billion, wholesale trade totaled $1.29 billion, mining and oil extraction $689.4 million, accommodation and food services $447.7 million and manufacturing $268.8 million.

North Dakota second-quarter sales tax collections peaked in 2014 at $7 billion, up sharply from $3.4 billion in 2010.

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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