Two state energy association leaders are convinced that the answer to Oklahoma’s current budget shortfall is through industry growth rather than increased taxation.
In an editorial opinion published by The Oklahoman on Sunday, Chad Warmington and Tim Wigley warned that “the Legislature must avoid job-killing tax hikes.” Both cite the creation of 2,800 jobs in the first two months of 2017 as well as a significant increase in the number of Oklahoma’s active drilling rigs as reasons for the industry revitalization occurring in the state.
“For 2017, the most active operators in the state have committed $5.5 billion in capital investments, said Warmington and Wigley, in the editorial opinion. “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.”
They conclude that raising taxes will result in the shift of jobs and investments to other Tier 1 energy states including Texas. They advocate staying the course by allowing the energy industry to spark economic recovery.
“Job creation and new capital investments will generate new revenue over the long term and break the cycle of state revenue shortfalls,” said Warmington, President of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association and Wigley, Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.