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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a state’s fiscal year? What is a biennium?

North Dakota’s fiscal years run from July 1 through June 30 of every calendar year.  A biennium includes two fiscal years, beginning on July 1 of every odd numbered year.


What is the size of the state budget?

The amount of North Dakota’s budget for the 2017-19 biennium is $13.55 billion. Of this, 31.8% comes from the state General Fund, 40.3% is special funds, and 27.9% is federal funds.


What are the main general fund revenue sources?

The main general fund revenue sources for the 2017-19 biennium are 44.4% Sales and Use Tax, 20.9% Transfers and Miscellaneous, 16.1% Individual Income Tax, 9.2% Oil Tax, 3.0% Insurance Premium Tax, and 2.4% Corporate Income Tax.


What Are "Funds?” What Is The General Fund?

State spending is divided into a series of separate funds, which are separate accounting divisions to keep track of certain revenues and expenditures that are specified in law. Funds are often created to set aside certain revenues for special purposes. For example, taxes on motor vehicle sales, registrations, and gasoline are dedicated to special highway funds for road maintenance and construction. Hunting and fishing license fees are dedicated to game and fish programs. State law specifies several dozen separate funds that are spent for certain purposes.

The general fund receives the major state taxes on income, sales, corporate income, alcohol and tobacco, and the Legislature appropriates these funds for public purposes.


What is a Congressional Township?

A Congressional township is a 6 mile X 6 mile unit of land that is the basis for legal descriptions or real property. There can be more than one Congressional Township in an Organized Township, or they can be unorganized townships.


What is an Organized Township?

An Organized Township is one or more congressional township that has been organized under ND Century Code Provisions ­ governed by a Board of Township Supervisors.


What is an Unorganized Township?

An Unorganized Township is a township that is not organized un­der ND Century Code and has its local rules administered by the county.

What is a Township Road?

Article 84-03-01-01. Township road defined. A township road, for purposes of the administration of North Dakota Century Code section 57-50-01 (repealed), is a public road established pursuant to North Dakota Century Code chapter 24-07 which is an improved road, constructed, maintained, graded, and drained by the township, or county in the case of an unorganized township. A township road includes a street in an unincorporated townsite and does not necessarily have to be surfaced. A sodded road is not a township road. In order for a section line to be a township road it must be graded and drained and be an improved maintained road. A township road is a public road which is not designated as part of a county, state, or federal-aid road system and is not located in an incorporated city.

General Authority: NDCC 54-27-19.1



ACH — The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is the primary electronic funds transfer system used by agencies to make payments and collect funds.

Appropriation — Authorization by the legislature to spend money from the state treasury for purposes established in law. Appropriations typically limit expenditures to a specific amount and purpose within a biennial period.

Biennium — A two-year fiscal period. North Dakota’s biennium runs from July 1 of an odd numbered year to June 30 of the next odd-numbered year.

Direct Appropriation — Authorization by the legislature to spend money from the state treasury for purposes established in law. Appropriations typically limit expenditures to a specific amount and purpose within a biennial period.

Entitlement — A service or grant that, under state or federal law, must be provided to all eligible applicants.

Fiscal Year — One-year budget period that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The state fiscal year extends from July 1 through the next June 30. The federal fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30.

Forecasts — Adjustments made to the base or planning estimates in a forecasted program based on a new budget forecast that predicts expenditure changes. Entitlement programs like as K-12 general education, intergovernmental aids, health care, and family support are forecast based on expected changes in eligibility, enrollment, and average costs. Wage and price inflation is included in the revenue estimates, which are based on current law tax rates.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) — A unit of measure of state employees. It refers to the equivalent of one person working full time for one year (approximately 2,080 hours of paid staff time). Two persons working half time also count as one FTE.

Fund Balance or Fund Statement — Summary of revenues, expenditures, reserves and year-end balances for a fund or grouping of funds. Updated fund balances are prepared at the release of each state forecast, the release of the Governor’s budget, and at the end of each legislative session.

General Fund — The General Fund is the source of the state’s main operating funding and is used to support activities outlined in statute.  Major revenue streams into the General Fund include state individual, corporate, and sales taxes among others. These are non-dedicated revenues and are available to be appropriated by the Legislature.  

General Obligation Bonds — Bonds whose repayment is guaranteed by the “full faith and credit” of the state.

Standing Appropriation — An appropriation made in statute (instead of session law) authorizing spending for a program of a pre-determined dollar amount for a specific period of time or indefinitely.

Statutory Appropriation — An appropriation made in statute (instead of session law) authorizing the ongoing spending for a program. In contrast to direct appropriations, statutory appropriations need not be reviewed every biennium for funding to continue. They are, however, presented and considered as part of the total operating budget.

Turnback — Money appropriated but unspent at the end of a fiscal year or end of biennium. Such amounts are generally turned back to the state fund from which they were appropriated.

Transfers — Authorized movement of money between programs within an agency, between agencies for a designated purpose, between appropriations accounts within a fund or between state funds where authorized. By definition all transfers are two-sided, a source account (out) and a destination account (in).