King Op-Ed: “Cities: Be Careful Not to Run Off Our Barnett Shale Jobs”

May 25, 2012

Weatherford Telegram

State Representative Phil King

The Barnett Shale is responsible for over 100,000 jobs in North Texas and produced over $11 billion in annual output in 2011 alone. Barnett Shale activity accounted for 38.5 percent of the incremental growth in our local economy over the past decade. While our communities continue to benefit from the oil and gas industry, Barnett Shale activity has declined dramatically, primarily due to low natural gas prices and the high cost of drilling in our urban and suburban areas. This is why it was so disturbing when I read about a local city’s recent decision to implement a new local tax on each gas well on top of very high permitting and other fees already in place.

It concerns me that a municipality would attempt to raise revenues with a tax focused on a single industry, particularly an industry that has provided tremendous economic benefit for the residents of North Texas and the entire state of Texas. This sector of our economy drives job growth and provides billions of dollars in revenue for state and local municipalities. The oil and gas industry paid $9.3 billion in taxes and royalties to the State of Texas in 2011. Cumulative economic benefits in the Barnett Shale region from 2001-2011 include $65.4 billion in output and 596,648 person years of employment.