Fiscal care lessens oil price impact

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

Each of life’s coins has two sides. What helps one group hurts another.

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the volatile oil and gas business in Southwest Mississippi.

For many, many months, motorists have enjoyed extremely low gasoline prices.

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Filling up at the pump has become far less burdensome since the price of oil plummeted so many months ago.

While motorists enjoy having additional cash in their pockets, people who work in the petroleum exploration and production industries are hurting.

The area’s biggest potential economic boom of a few years ago — the Tuscaloosa marine shale development to our south — has all but dried up as the low cost of oil makes pulling the difficult shale oil from the ground too costly.

Hundreds of people across the region have lost their jobs as oil companies throttle back costs.

This week, Adams County’s government detailed significant losses in tax revenue as a result of lower oil production and the depressed price of oil.

Fortunately, the county has been careful in budgeting and fortunate to be relatively flush with cash from other projects in recent years. Had the county not been in good shape fiscally, the county might have been in a pickle.

Good leadership has prevented a significant challenge, and for that county residents should be thankful.

We expect over time the price of oil to rise again making the coin flip just a little in the other direction.