As oil and natural gas production continues its unprecedented growth in New Mexico's Permian and San Juan Basins, state officials project oil and gas tax revenues could create a budget surplus of close to $2 billion.
State legislative House Speaker Brian Egolf said the state should know by January if the surplus reaches $2 billion. He also told local news media that, contrary to two years ago when New Mexico faced a $300 million deficit, he sees a windfall from the state’s energy sector.
"We see the possibility of hiring, over the next five years, as many as 10,000 teachers in New Mexico," Egolf said, adding that he wants the bulk of the surplus to go toward education.
Earlier this year, economists with state agencies and the legislature projected revenue would outpace spending obligations during the fiscal year, which began July 1, by an "astonishing" $1.2 billion. The figure was subsequently raised to $1.4 billion. Meanwhile, production numbers have continued to climb.
According to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, growth in New Mexico's oil and gas industry reached record levels throughout 2018, with the state becoming "the third-largest oil producer in America while hitting record highs in oil production and number of drilling rigs operating in the state."
Industry statistics also show there have been more than $13 billion in announced investments and acquisitions in New Mexico's oil and gas industry since the beginning of 2017.