Boom: Energy cash influx leads to a state surplus in Texas

posted at 2:41 pm on January 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

While we all wait with bated breath for President Obama to figure out if he wants to be more or less of a stickler on domestic energy production, i.e. as he dithers at the fork in the road of letting the economy do what it does best and take fuller advantage of our abundant energy resources, or pandering more heavily to his greenie base and bringing the pain on non-’renewable’ energy sources, there is ample available evidence of the type of economic gains we could be letting loose if we could commit to the former choice on a national level. Thank goodness for federalism:

Legislators in Texas, the biggest energy producer among U.S. states, will begin deliberating its next two-year budget with a surplus forecast today to match an $8.8 billion record set in 2007.

The Texas economy has topped budget projections over the past 15 months, as booming energy output fueled job growth and an 11 percent fiscal first-quarter gain in sales-tax receipts, the biggest source of general-fund revenue. Even after paying off $7 billion in health and school bills, Comptroller Susan Combs said today that the state will be flush heading into 2014. …

Disciplined spending policies have helped Texas retain top credit grades from Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. …

As the taxable value of oil produced in Texas surged to $39.1 billion in 2011 from $18.4 billion in 2009, the state led the nation in employment gains, adding about 700,000 jobs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The state unemployment rate has tumbled to a four-year low of 6.2 percent. Oil and natural-gas drilling rigs more than doubled by mid-2012 compared with two years earlier, and the industry’s workforce climbed 9.2 percent, Combs said.

An inbound crush of revenue, private sector productivity, job creation, economic growth — this is everything we are giving up while the Obama administration has tried to forcefully mold the energy economy of their greenest political fancies by delaying on drilling leases for federal lands and waters, flexing their regulatory muscles and waging a war on coal, “investing” our money in their pet projects, and bandying around with potential new regulations to crack down further on hydraulic fracturing. This pretty much sums up the possibilities, if only President Obama would fully pursue them:

And speaking of the type of greenie-pressure Obama is facing from the other side of the energy spectrum, it is looking increasingly likely that President Obama will finally approve the full Keystone XL pipeline in the coming months, and you can bet that the eco-crowd not taking the news well:

More than 70 green groups urged President Obama in a Monday letter to kill the Keystone XL pipeline to make good on promises to address climate change.

In their letter, the groups said Obama should speak out more often on climate change, impose emissions limits on existing coal-fired power plants and focus on creating clean-energy jobs.

They added the president also should shut down the proposed pipeline that would bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

“Hurricane Sandy made it tragically clear that many communities are extremely vulnerable to climate change. We can and we must build back better — with investment in sustainable infrastructure, not the kind of carbon-intensive development that helped drive this problem in the first place,” the groups wrote in the letter.


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