Energy officials: Let oil and natural gas lead Oklahoma’s recovery
By Chad Warmington and Tim Wigley
This year has been good for Oklahoma’s economy. In the first two months, the energy industry created 2,800 jobs and the drilling rig count reached the highest point in two years. In areas with active drilling, the unemployment rate has decreased by 2 percent.
To keep this momentum, the Legislature must avoid job-killing tax hikes. Raising taxes is a short-sighted move with continuing low oil and natural gas prices. A tax increase could cause the industry to move investment dollars to other Tier 1 energy states, including Texas.
Rather than increasing taxes again on the oil and natural gas industry, the state should allow us to continue to lead the economic recovery. Job creation and new capital investments will generate new revenue over the long term and break the cycle of state revenue shortfalls.
For 2017, the most active operators in the state have committed $5.5 billion in capital investments. This will support an estimated 30,000 direct jobs and 165,000 indirect jobs and generate millions in new revenue. It’s estimated private and smaller oil and natural gas companies will spend an additional $1 billion this year.