This week, President Barack Obama announced a jobs bill to stimulate the nation’s economy and create jobs for Americans out of work. Unfortunately, his plan includes raising $41 billion by reducing or eliminating tax credits, incentives and exemptions that propel oil and gas exploration and production in this country.
With this plan, the president continues to attack the industry that provides many, many of the best, highest-paying jobs in the country. At the same time, he is ignoring the potential jobs that are at stake by turning his back on development of more domestic oil and gas resources throughout the United States.
The president has consistently referred to oil and gas as “yesterday’s energy,” when in fact this industry will provide the vast majority of the energy needed to fuel America for decades to come. Continuing the current path of policies included in this jobs bill will only slow down development, increase regulatory burdens, raise taxes and make us even more dependent on foreign sources of energy.
In Louisiana alone, the oil and gas industry provides more than 310,000 direct and indirect jobs with average weekly wages of $1,900. Exploration and production wages are more than 2.5 times the average manufacturing job, and refining wages are 60 percent higher than the average manufacturing job. Hundreds of companies are engaged in the exploration and production, pipeline and refining sectors. These jobs are spread throughout the state of Louisiana, covering all 64 parishes.
Removing incentives and raising taxes on an industry that is one of the best providers of jobs and government income is not the solution to America’s jobs crisis. In fact, it is just the opposite. In Louisiana and throughout the United States, the energy industry is prepared and ready to do its part to get Americans back to work.
The president should be announcing a jobs bill that stimulates the economy by enabling those industries that stand ready to provide desperately needed, quality jobs for Americans.
Chris John, president
La. Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association