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South Texas Officials Seek to Bring Tax Dollars From Austin to Community To Deal With Natural Gas Boom

October 29th, 2012

Many South Texas officials are starting to take note of the downside of the natural gas boom which has occurred in the Eagle Ford shale area. Although the rise in natural gas exploration has drastically helped the local economy, the reality is that the pavement is almost gone in some spots, ripped up by thousands of heavy trucks servicing oil drilling rigs. Some county leaders say the millions of tax dollars that could help fix the damage has all gone to Austin. These leaders are calling for the money to find its way back to where it is most needed.

According to the Texas Rail Road Commission, as much crude is now being pumped out of South Texas in a single day, some 300,000 barrels, as was pumped in all 2009. Reportedly, oil production statewide has meant an increase in the amount of the severance tax levied on the oil produced. Sources say collections are up 43% this past fiscal year, totaling some $2.1 billion. Local sources say sales taxes have soared in Karnes County, which is not now the state's number one producer of crude.

However, local authorities say they are still worried about finding enough money to keep the counties running and the political implications having to charge property owners to pay for it. Reportedly, the tremendous increase in traffic means the county now has to spend more on things like courts and county personnel. Sources say that despite the seeming inflow of new tax wealth, county leaders have had to let property taxes go up.

Reportedly, South Texas officials are now leading an effort to convince lawmakers to figure a way to send some of that revenue back to the counties in South Texas. Sources say that the Eagle Shale Task Force is the organization created to provide a forum to hash out such issues and will make recommendations by year's end to the legislature.

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