Report shows 27 percent growth for Adams County

Recently the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner published the 2018 Annual Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report.

Frank Turner

The report showed that, of all North Dakota counties, Adams County had one of the largest percentage increases in taxable sales and purchases for the 2018 calendar year.
According to the report, taxable sales and purchases in 2018 were up 27.16 percent from the previous year. This 27.16 percent change over the previous year represents an increase of over 5 million dollars in taxable sales and purchases in Adams County.
Although the report looks positive, it still only catches what is taxable in North Dakota, so it isn’t a complete economic picture.
Even still, North Dakota State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said that the annual report reflected a positive economic message for Adams County. When broken down by industry, every reportable industry had a sizeable percentage increase from the year before.
“…You have significantly more sales activity in Adams County in 2018 than 2017,” said Rauschenberger. “… Whatever is occurring in Adams County has really helped lift up all the industries across the board… When you look at the report, there is really nothing but a positive outlook for when you look at 2018 compared to 2017.”
Though the 27.16 percent increase in taxable sales and purchases from 2017 to 2018 may seem like a uniquely large jump, Rauschenberger said that large swings in smaller populated areas are not uncommon.
“It isn’t unusual to see fairly big swings because of, especially in smaller populated counties, large projects,” said the tax commissioner. “If you have a million dollar construction project, regardless of the industry it is in, that’s going to be a huge increase that falls in one year.”
As a whole state, the west side of North Dakota is experiencing more robust and consistent growth, according to Rauschenberger. Much like the other western counties, Rauschenberger attributed some of Adams County’s economic success in the calendar year of 2018 to the close proximity of oil around Adams County.
“…Most of the western counties, even if they aren’t necessarily directly oil producing counties, they are seeing the ripple effect of more money being spent in the western part of the state, with more employment and more people,” he said. “So what we are seeing is that regionally, the western part of the state is growing faster than the rest of the state.”
While oil is a likely contributor Rauschenberger said that a large construction project could have also contribute to Adams County’s recent economic stimulus.
Because many industries’ taxable sales have to remain unreported, pinning down the exact cause of a county’s increase in taxable sales and purchases can be difficult. Industrys’ taxable sales are not reportable unless there are at least five businesses included in that specific industry.
“If there is work being done that is expanding or repair work being done to the wind farms, that can bring in a lot of activity, especially if there is a construction crew in town and there are a lot more sales,” said Rauschenberger. “That happens in lot of the counties and cities where they will have these projects that fall into a year… and whether they are construction projects or large-scale industrial projects [counties] will see these large percentage increases in one given year… It can be a nice shot in the arm for the community when that construction occurs in the area if there is an industrial project going on.”
Executive Director of the Adams County Development Corporation and Hettinger Chamber of Commerce, Jasmin Fosheim, said that she is excited to aid continued growth in the future.
“From the work of business owners and employees to the culture of supporting local that continues to grow in Hettinger and Adams County, community members should be proud of the strength of our community both economically and otherwise,” said Fosheim.

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