It's not exactly Santa Claus shimmying down the chimney with a satchel stuffed with holiday cheer, but it's close.
The Texas comptroller's office released its report concerning the state's budget and the results were astoundingly positive. Not only did the Lone Star state recover 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, it added nearly 600,000 over its previous peak in 2008. What allowed it to shake off the negative effects of the economic downtown and head into this holiday season full of optimism and good fiscal cheer?
Advancements in oil drilling.
If Texas could hang out a giant stocking, it might very well be filled with deep well jet pumps and other pieces of hydraulic lift equipment. These advancements proved to be a gift not just to the drilling industry, but to the state as a whole. According to the figured reported, the state ended the last two years with a surplus of over $2.6 billion, despite being expected to have less than half of that. The credit for this windfall has to be squarely given to the oil and natural gas industries, which contributed $2 billion more than expected in tax revenues.
This means good things for the state's ability to pursue projects in general. There had been some concerns that Texas's "Rainy Day Fund" would be tapped out in 2015, between ambitious water projects and spending on infrastructure. This additional revenue allays those concerns, and may allow greater legislative freedom in the coming years, as well as opportunities to help underprivileged citizens.
The jobs report contains equally promising news. A supportive disposition towards oil drilling has allowed Texas to recover from one of the worst economic climates in decades, even as the national economy faces a slow uphill climb. And those new positions aren't just directly in the oil and gas industries. Rather, they are in petrochemicals, plastics and fertilizer also, as well other industries that are facilitated by ready access to important resources. Valuable transportation facilities that will support further growth are being developed, with huge rail terminals going up in towns like Three Rivers and Cotula.
So what did the oil industry get Texas this Christmas? Thousands of jobs, billions in revenue and a financial outlook that ranks among the country's best.
Much better than getting coal.