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$1.6B: ND budget surplus continues to zoom

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Energy Dickinson, 58602

Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

BISMARCK (AP) -- New estimates put North Dakota's budget surplus at a staggering $1.6 billion.

In July the state's budget surplus was estimated at $850 million. That doesn't count $1.1 billion in state reserve funds that have restrictions on how they can be spent.

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Gov. Jack Dalrymple credits explosive growth in sales tax revenues for much of the increase.

He says oil exploration in western North Dakota has caused a bigger increase in tax collections than anyone expected.

Dalrymple says much of the surplus should be devoted to one-time public works projects and tax cuts.

A legislative committee heard a report Wednesday on the revenue estimates.

The surplus number also doesn't include money that's expected to flow into a newly established state public works fund. It could have almost $700 million by June.

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