Oil and gas production in the United States has increased dramatically in the past 10 years. This growth has important implications for local governments, which often see new revenues from a variety of sources: property taxes on oil and gas property, sales taxes driven by the oil and gas workforce, allocations of state revenues from severance taxes or state and federal leases, leases on local government land, and contributions from oil and gas companies to support local services. At the same time, local governments tend to experience a range of new costs such as road damage caused by heavy industry truck traffic, increased demand for emergency services and law enforcement, and challenges with workforce retention. This report examines county and municipal fiscal effects in 14 oil- and gas-producing regions of eight states: AK, CA, KS, OH, OK, NM, UT, and WV. We find that for most local governments, oil and gas development—whether new or longstanding—has a positive effect on local public finances. However, effects can vary substantially due to a variety of local factors and policy issues. For some local governments, particularly those in rural regions experiencing large increases in development, revenues have not kept pace with rapidly increased costs and demand for services, particularly on road repair.
This research was carried out at the Duke University Energy Initiative with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.