Don’t like oil and gas? Don’t line up for cash

October 1, 2018

In April 2018, Gov. Susana Martinez’s office indicated that actual state revenues already had exceeded last year’s by $693 million. Three months later, Legislative Finance Committee projections were at $1.2 billion for 2018. Surely, by year’s end, the amount will surpass a $1.5 million surplus.

While significant gains have been made in personal income and corporate tax collections, the majority of gains are a result of taxes collected from the oil and gas industry. There are those who assert that New Mexico needs to wean itself from fossil fuels as its main revenue source, gain independence from the international oil industry and concentrate on alternative energy to create a healthy, vibrant and prosperous economy. Few will argue otherwise. However, until this happens, we can enjoy the fruits of the harvest.

Anti-oil and gas folks and others claim the oil and gas industry pollutes groundwater, weakens and destabilizes the ground, permanently damages landscapes, and is the greatest producer of greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. When it comes time to slice and apportion the pie, these folks need not stand in line and ask for their share. Doing so might be construed as the epitome of hypocrisy.

Arthur R. Varela is the previous treasurer for the village of Pecos.

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