For those who consistently accuse the fossil fuels industry of being greedy and selfish, here’s a statistic for you: in fiscal year 2018, the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid over $14 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties, a staggering $38 million each day to fund schools, roads, universities and first responders.
Texas Oil and Gas Association president Todd Staples noted, “As we celebrate 100 years of oil and natural gas, we are proud to report that the Texas oil and natural gas industry has paid $133 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties just since 2007. Last year alone, the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid the equivalent of $38 million a day to fund our schools, roads, universities and first responders. More tax and royalty revenue from the oil and natural gas industry means our lawmakers have more to work with to meet the needs of our growing state.”
The Victoria Advocate reports, “In fiscal year 2018, Texas school districts received $1.24 billion in property taxes from mineral properties producing oil and natural gas, pipelines and gas utilities. Counties received $366.5 million in oil and natural gas mineral property taxes.”
Staples added, “In addition to taxes and royalties, Texas oil and natural gas companies are investing billions in advanced technologies that are protecting and improving our environment – proof that we can grow our economy, protect the environment and enhance our energy security at the same time.”
Money paid in state royalties by the oil and natural gas industry are utilized to fund the Permanent School Fund, which funds Texas’ public schools, and the Permanent University Fund, which funds public higher education.
Staples commented, “What’s remarkable to me is that the Texas Permanent School Fund, seldom recognized outside of Texas, leads the pack among all educational endowments in the country. With a balance of $41.4 billion at the end of fiscal year 2017, the PSF is the largest educational endowment in the nation – bigger than Harvard University’s endowment worth $39.2 billion.”
In late January, the Yale Daily News reported that Yale University’s endowment had been surpassed in Texas:
The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company announced last month that the joint endowment it manages for two schools — University of Texas and Texas A&M University — surged to $30.9 billion, surpassing Yale’s $29.4 billion endowment during the 2018 fiscal year which ended on June 30. Texas’ high returns were largely buoyed by the mineral rights from land it controls in the Permian Basin — a stretch of land across western Texas that has recently become the world’s fastest growing oil-producing region due to advancements in hydraulic fracking. In the past 20 years, the state system’s endowment has edged out Yale’s twice — in 2002 and 2014.
Staples said the Texas Oil and Gas Association strongly supports funding for the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and reauthorization of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. He concluded, “We recognize that our state’s impressive energy achievements have sparked rapid population growth and created the need for additional funding for county roads. Considering energy production is providing vast amounts of revenue for state and local governments, specifically the Rainy Day Fund, we think it appropriate to use a portion of funds already collected for repairs and expansions on county roads in our state’s energy sectors.”
The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers estimated that roughly 238,0000 Texans were directly employed by the upstream oil and gas sector in 2018.