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Landgraf: Why Texas needs GROW - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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Landgraf: Why Texas needs GROW

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf was elected in 2014 to House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties.

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 4:00 am

A few months ago I was blessed with the opportunity to attend an event featuring President George W. Bush as the keynote speaker. He spoke about a wide variety of topics including his upbringing in West Texas, his love of baseball, his parents, and of course, life during and after his presidency. President Bush spoke with the authority of a president, the passion of a preacher, the knowledge of a history professor, and the wit of a stand-up comedian.

Among the memorable things President Bush had to say were his comments regarding the September attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities. The president credited the massive production happening out here in the Permian Basin as the reason why the US economy didn't skip a beat after the attack, something that would have been impossible to imagine if a similar attack occurred ten or fifteen years ago. The president made it clear that reducing our dependence on foreign oil improves our national and economic security.

That's right -- the hard work of West Texans is not only benefiting drivers in Dallas and students in San Antonio, it's also making our country safer. The Permian Basin has global significance. Our blood, sweat and tears influence decisions made by politicians in countries around the world as well as executives of Fortune 500 companies.

That is why it is time for the state of Texas to step up and invest in the Permian Basin and other major oil and gas producing regions of the state. We are all aware of the strain placed on our infrastructure by the steadily growing oil and gas production in our community. The fact that this strain places our national security at risk and endangers our state's economic fortunes should be all anyone needs to know to take action. This is important even when we see a slow down in production here in the Permian Basin.

For these reasons and others, my commitment to GROW Texas remains as strong as ever. Had it passed earlier this year, this legislation would have created the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth (GROW) for Texas fund to utilize existing state revenue paid by oil and gas producers to expand and improve highways and public roads, increase law-enforcement and first responder salaries, and revitalize education and skilled-workforce opportunities in energy-producing hotbeds across the state.

I will be filing the GROW Texas legislation again in 2021 with renewed vigor and focus. Billions upon billions of dollars of oil and gas production tax revenue leaves the Permian Basin and is spread throughout the state for roads, education and other needs, but very little makes it back to where it was generated. Now is the time to act to protect the Permian Basin -- Texas' golden goose and the key to USA energy independence.

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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