Eddy County Commissioner, Ernie Carlson and Eddy County Community and Administrative Services Director, Wesley Hooper have been traveling around the state presenting the County Level Revenue and Expenditure Analysis that was completed by NMSU’s Arrowhead Center.
“One of the things that the study shows, and I like to highlight, is that Eddy County sends the State revenues in the amount of $102,089 per Eddy County Resident and only receives back $19,226 or a disparity of -$82,863,” said Commissioner Carlson. “When you compare what we receive back to what other counties throughout the State receive in funding per person, there are only seven counties out of 33 that receive less per person than we do. So, we are the #1 revenue funding county in New Mexico, and rank #26 recipient county. When you look at the numbers, there are only six counties that provide more funds to the State Government than they receive back in funding. That is Eddy County #1 and Lea County #2. So, what I tell them is it’s prettysimple to see that improving the infrastructure and roads in Eddy County and Southeast New Mexico helps the Oil & Gas Industry increase their revenues, which helps you. To make a long story short, Help Us Help You!”
Commissioner Carlson continued, “The other part of my presentation is spent informing them of the budget impact the Oil & Gas Industry has on the State Budget. Most are not aware that it provides 35%-40% and the industries related to the oil and gas exploration and production add another 5%-10% of the budget. Also, the introduction of these regulatory and restrictive bills on oil and gas are telling the Oil & Gas Companies that New Mexico is not an industry friendly environment whether they are ever passed or not. The point I really try to make to them is that bills like the moratorium on fracking will not have an effect on our environment at all. What it will have an effect on is our State’s budget. The Oil & Gas Companies are just going to reassess their drilling programs and move 7-10 miles south into Texas. The only thing it will change is that the money will now be going to Texas. I also educate them that 70% of the State’s education funding comes from two Counties, Eddy and Lea,”
Mr. Hooper described the responses received so far, “Basically, we have had nothing but positive support from the entities wehave presented to thus far. They have been willing to set up other meetings and attend those meetings in support of educating others and stand behind investing back into Southeast New Mexico. Most of the individuals had no idea how much of the state’srevenues are generated in Southeast New Mexico and the huge difference between the second highest revenue generating county and the third highest. It has been jaw dropping to most that there are only 6 counties within the state that have a positive net number after taking the difference between what revenues are generated within their county on a per capita basis and the expense per capita.” He added, “We want to thank the city and county managers who have allowed us to present this study to them, andthose that are working on getting us on their agenda.”
So far, the study has been presented to the City of Deming, Luna County, and Grant County. Talks are underway with Bernalillo County and the City of Las Cruses to be added to their agendas.
Commissioner Carlson explained the purpose of the study, “The reason we as a Commission engaged the Arrowhead Center atNMSU to prepare this study was because each time we went to Santa Fe to lobby for infrastructure funding for Eddy County wecame up against the same response. The legislators would ask, ‘how do I tell my constituents that voting to send infrastructure monies to Eddy County and Southeast New Mexico benefits them?’ This is what the study shows and why I think it’s important enough to travel to different parts of New Mexico, at my own expense, to carry that information. It’s not the people in our area that need to be educated on the importance of the Oil & Gas Industry to New Mexico’s economy, it’s the people and elected officials outside of Southeast New Mexico.”
Access the full study done by Arrowhead Center at NMSU here.