Remember all that is possible because of oil and natural gas
With 100-plus years of oil and natural gas history in Texas, it may be tempting to take for granted all that is possible because we are the nation’s No. 1 state for oil and natural gas production, pipeline miles and refining capacity. Today, Texans from far and wide will remind lawmakers in Austin that those accolades translate into jobs, state and local tax revenue and financial security for our state.
On Texas Energy Day, 25-plus chambers of commerce, trade associations and organizations that span the state will join forces to reinforce how oil and natural gas keep Texans safe and secure in our homes and lives.
Lately, we are reminded that state and local tax revenue paid by the oil and natural gas industry is not guaranteed. Yet, even in a down market, the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid $9.4 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties in fiscal year 2016 — an average of $26 million a day. This revenue is used to directly fund our schools, universities, roads and first responders every year.
Since 2007, the oil and natural gas industry has paid $108 billion in state and local property taxes and state royalties — a figure that would finance the current annual state budgets for the University of Texas and Texas A&M University combined for well over 100 years.
The State’s Rainy Day Fund, with a current balance north of $10.1 billion, is funded almost exclusively by oil and natural gas severance taxes. Over the past five years, the oil and natural gas industry has contributed more than $8.3 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, which provides a level of financial security that most states do not enjoy.
Local entities also benefit from oil and natural gas tax revenue. In fiscal year 2016, Texas school districts received $1.7 billion in property taxes from mineral properties producing oil and gas, pipelines and gas utilities. Counties received $529.8 million in oil and natural gas mineral property taxes.
Clearly, oil and natural gas contributes mightily to Texas in good times and lean times. Fortunately, we are seeing signs of recovery as prices stabilize and activity returns to oil and natural gas fields. After years of contraction, new oil and natural gas jobs returned every month between September and December, with 4,700 Texans back at work.
Beyond the dollars, cents and direct jobs, oil and natural gas enrich our lives and keep us safe every day.
Because of abundant natural gas, we have access to clean, affordable and reliable power. According to data from the International Energy Agency, an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity — the very foundation of personal safety and well-being.
Here, natural gas keeps energy local and affordable for Texas families. In 2015, the average American family enjoyed more than $1,300 in energy-related savings.
Not everyone in America is enjoying inexpensive electricity — because some people don’t have adequate access to pipeline infrastructure, the safest way to deliver oil and natural gas. For example, people in New England pay the highest electricity rates in the continental U.S. During the winters of 2014 and 2015, residents there paid about $7 billion more than neighboring regions for electricity.
Given energy’s central role in basic health and safety, it’s clear that those who advocate for restricted access to reliable power or energy infrastructure are not advocates for the people. In fact, the efforts of activists against oil and natural gas put people at risk, threaten jobs and pinch family budgets.
Fortunately, we don’t live in an either-or world. We can produce more energy, grow our economy and continue to improve the environment while reducing our dependence on other countries for our energy needs.
What Texas needs now as we ease out of this dramatic downturn is for our lawmakers to look closely at what makes Texas a good place to do business.
On Texas Energy Day and beyond, we’ll urge lawmakers to maintain their commitment to science-based regulations, reauthorize the Railroad Commission of Texas, properly fund the Railroad Commission and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and encourage the critical infrastructure development our growing state needs. All Texans benefit when their leaders embrace smart policy that allows the oil and natural gas industry to provide for Texas — and secure our economy, environment and future.
Re: March 4 article, “ICE in Austin: Sheriff had released immigrant arrested at courthouse.”
I have to compliment the Statesman on your consistency. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement stories and headlines show your viewpoint — and it should be in the commentary section. The same goes for your coverage of our president. You have an agenda and occasionally report real details of the story in the third or fourth paragraph like the story that ran in the print edition with the headline “New ICE tactic? Immigrant is arrested at courthouse.” Give us a break.
Why the Statesman reports these stories with such bias is so sad. The Statesman from a news-reporting basis is anything but unbiased. Truly a sad source for news.
Re: March 5 article, “7 things families with immigrant members should know” and March 5 article, “Austin ICE raids: Meet the immigrants arrested.”
The article describes seven
Re: March 6 article, “Austin, Manor school districts launch workforce training academies.”
The article talked about some schools preparing graduates for jobs. Between 1981 and 1984, Raymon Bynum was commissioner of education. His goal was that every graduate would have a salable skill. Then a group took over the Legislature who thought everyone should be in a college preparatory program.
After 30 years on that misdirection we are back at helping graduates be prepared for jobs. All jobs don’t require a college degree. How hard is that for legislators to understand? Have they had their toilet fixed lately? Or their hair cut? Or their car repaired? Those who provided these services make more than many college grads.
Re: March 8 article, “Transgender bathroom bill draws hundreds to testify.”
I wish our governor, lieutenant governor and the Texas Legislature spent as much time on important fiscal issues as they do on social issues that are none of their business, like abortion and which bathroom we should use. Have we become a society of idiots that can no longer think and make these decisions on our own?
We do not need more government in lives. By the way, ladies, if the bathroom bill passes, you will no longer be able to slip into the men’s room when the line for the ladies room is too long, as you will be breaking the law!
Jonathan Sessler, the UT inventor of the year, walks through a chemistry lab. A reader is grateful that the Statesman told the story Kessler wanted us to learn.