North Dakota lawmakers are now expecting billions less in tax revenue during the next two and a half years.

Blame falling oil prices.

A report from Legislative Council downgrading revenue projections by $5.5 billion points mostly to the impact of oil tax exemptions the Legislature previously failed to reform.

During the 2013 legislative session multiple bills to eliminate the exemptions in exchange for lower top rates were rejected. Now plunging oil prices are expected to invoke those triggers causing a multi-billion swing in the state's expected revenues.

In early January, lawmakers began their 2015 session under what was described as a "black cloud" of oil price concerns. Now a projection released by lawmakers Thursday expects the state to lose $680 million in income and sales tax revenue between now and June 30, 2017.

North Dakota likely will lose another $4.8 billion in oil and gas tax revenue during that same period.

The impact on the state's finances could be dramatic.

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