North Dakota's oil tax revenues are booming, so much so that the state is on track to collect twice as much as it forecast a few months ago. If things continue on the current path, the state collection will fall somewhere near $4 billion.
That's astonishing news, of course, tempered by the fact that not all of that money will be available to spend. The majority of the money is headed for established funds, like the Legacy Fund, or directed toward local governments and property tax relief.
Still, there will be an abundant amount of money flowing into the general fund, which means legislators will have their work cut out for them when January rolls around. Not that we're anxious for lawmakers to spend all of it, of course. Legislators have consistently and traditionally set plenty of money aside, and should continue to do so, even with the booming oil industry.
But lawmakers should also be ready to agree to responsible spending during the next legislative session. North Dakota has real needs now, from education to roads to infrastructure to housing to property tax relief, and the Legislature must address all of those issues and more. We don't want to hear legislators moaning about how the state has no money; that argument will fall on deaf ears. There is money available and accessible that should be invested in this state's future.