Louisiana has been better for oil than oil has been for Louisiana.

Compare the north Louisiana parishes that are engulfed in oil and gas fracking to St. Tammany that has no fracking. Tammany stomps the fracking parishes (known as Region 7) in any metric you pick — jobs and jobs growth, income and income growth, population growth, employment rates, health, life expectancy, education (ACT scores, high school grads, college grads), cleanliness, a far lower poverty rate and the list goes on.

Region 7 actually has lost 5,275 jobs (-2.3 percent)since fracking began there, while St. Tammany added some 6,700 (9 percent). In strictly oil jobs, Region 7 lost 158 direct oil jobs (2 percent) while St. Tammany gained 1,100 (240 percent). Region 7’s average oil and gas jobs paid $70,000, while St. Tammany’s executive “suit jobs” paid $136,000. Obviously, oil “suits” don’t want to live near toxic fracking operations.

Population growth brings economic stability via more homes, more spending and more growth for local permanent businesses versus the temporary and transient oil and gas businesses that actually cause property values to drop (except for the select few mineral rights owners, and even those values also drop after the minerals are depleted and the land is scalped and turned toxic).

While the oil and gas industry likes to point to the taxes it pays, it conveniently omits reference to taxes it should pay, and would pay, if not for lucrative subsidies, incentives and exemptions such as zero tax on the first two years of production, which, not coincidentally, are the two most productive years.

Most sources show taxpayers currently subsidize the oil and gas industry by some $4.8 billion every year. Hence, the industry’s misleading claims about taxes and jobs call into question the credibility of its other claims.

B. Charles Goodwin

retired business owner