By David Blackmon in Forbes 9/9/2014
James Lebas, former chief revenue estimator for the Texas Comptroller’s office, made news recently when he told the state’s House Committee on Energy Resources that, working with the Comptroller’s office, he had determined that output from the oil and natural gas industry now accounts for fully one-third of the entire Texas economy. Given that the Texas economy would rank 12th among all nations on earth, that’s an amazing amount of economic activity for one industry to provide.
Yet, it should not surprise anyone who has really been paying attention to the phenomenal boom the industry has undergone in Texas since 2010. As Lebas, who now works as a tax and fiscal consultant in Austin, told me when I spoke with him last week, “It’s best to recognize you are in a golden age while you’re in it.”
Or, as he told the Energy Resources Committee, “When people look back at this in 20 years, this will be seen as part of the golden age. We have reached new highs, it is paying handsome dividends to the state and the state is doing very well. We’ve gone from one million barrels a day to three million, and the day may come when...