Landgraf & Craddick: Invest in energy hotspots to grow Texas

AUSTIN — Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) are working together to bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to the Permian Basin and other energy-producing hotbeds, where those tax dollars originate. The two filed a legislative package to direct state funds to make drastically needed improvements to expand roads, boost public safety, and enhance educational opportunities across energy producing areas.

“Oil and gas production in Texas creates countless jobs, generates billions in tax dollars and helps fund public education across the entire state,” State. Rep. Landgraf stated. “But this single-largest economic driver in Texas is being threatened because of inadequate state investment in highway safety and infrastructure, and educational opportunities in Texas’ energy-production hotbeds.”

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.

“The blessings to our region under this plan are undeniable, but it’s important to remember that our entire state would benefit,” Craddick explained. “Investing in our infrastructure, public safety and schools sets us up for success, which allows our area to continue to be a source of jobs, revenue and prosperity for all Texans.”

The GROW Texas Fund will provide long-term benefits for Texans across the state. This re-investment ensures oil and gas can be safely and efficiently produced, which secures a statewide tax base that serves every corner of Texas and demands high-paying jobs from the wells in the Permian Basin to the high-rises in Houston. 

Landgraf’s and Craddick’s legislative measures require a supermajority in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate as well as a constitutional amendment adopted by Texas voters to become law.