The idea that natural resource production boosts local economies is nothing new. One example of this concept in action comes from West Virginia, a state that, thanks to its location atop the Marcellus Shale, has seen extensive oil and gas output over the last decade. 2019 proved especially lucrative for many county governments in the Mountain State thanks to oil and gas property taxes. In fact, the West Virginia Division of Tax and Revenue cited an increase of almost 40 percent (totaling $34.8 million) compared to 2018. This escalation stands to provide governing bodies with more than $123 million this year, bolstering both their school systems and community programs.

True, property taxes generated by natural resource production fluctuate for several reasons, including commodity prices and output, though Anne Blankenship, Executive Director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, contends that this state’s asset-rich counties consistently stay in the black, receiving appreciable capital from oil and gas production. She went on to explain that enlarged property taxes in participating counties have led to critical upgrades in local government operations, most notably those aimed at education.

For a better idea of what this extra income means, here’s a breakdown of the counties benefiting most from oil and gas property taxes in 2019:

  • Wetzel County – 18 percent increase at $14.5 million
  • Marshall County – 35 percent increase at $11.7 million
  • Doddridge County – 65 percent increase at $26.6 million
  • Ritchie County – 69 percent increase at $15 million
  • Tyler County – 98 percent increase at $19.6 million

These numbers show the top five recipients, but other counties experiencing similar gains include Brooke County, whose 2019 earnings show a 59 percent increase ($3.8 million); Ohio County at a 33 percent increase ($7.3 million); and Monongalia County at an 83 percent increase ($1.5 million).

Note: Oil and natural gas property tax evaluations for 2019 are formulated from production and pricing resources from the tax year 2017, as is standard practice. Click here for a complete list of oil and gas property taxes for West Virginia counties in 2019.