Grow Texas Fund Bill gaining momentum in Texas House

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) on Wednesday presented to a Texas House Appropriations subcommittee their proposal to bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to energy-producing hotbeds across the state. Landgraf and Craddick also announced the support of major trade associations for the proposal, known as the “GROW Texas Fund." The two filed a legislative package to direct state funds to make drastically needed improvements to roads, boost public safety, enhance educational opportunities across energy producing areas, as well as reduce infrastructure bottlenecks at Texas ports.

"From the wells in the Permian Basin to the high-rises in Houston, the GROW Texas Fund will help secure a statewide tax base that serves every corner of Texas," Landgraf added. "That’s why I'm proud of the growing support from across the state."

The GROW Texas Fund legislation is supported by the following organizations and their members:

Greater Houston Partnership

Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Texas Association of Business

Texas Oil & Gas Association

Association of Energy Service Companies

Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association

Permian Basin Petroleum Association

Permian Strategic Partnership

HJR 82 and HB 2154 filed by Craddick and Landgraf would create the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth for Texas Fund— the “GROW Texas Fund.” The GROW Texas Fund would not raise or create taxes. Instead, it secures existing state revenue paid by oil and gas producers through severance taxes for specific re-investment in the Texas oil patch that has been strained to the brink by record-breaking production in recent years. That money would then be used exclusively to: expand and improve highways and public roads, increase law-enforcement and first responder salaries, and revitalize education and skilled-workforce opportunities by dedicating money to teachers, schools, colleges and universities.

The money that would be deposited into the GROW Texas Fund is not being taken away from any vital causes or other regions. Currently, these energy-generated severance taxes are paid into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which is already robust and will continue to increase at a healthy pace even with the GROW Texas Fund in place.

“Oil and gas production in Texas creates countless jobs, generates billions in tax dollars and helps fund public education across the entire state,” Landgraf said. “But this single-largest economic driver in Texas is being threatened because of inadequate state investment in highway safety and infrastructure, and shortages in teachers, housing, and emergency service personnel in Texas’ energy-production hotbeds.”