September 20, 2019
Longview News-Journal via Amarillo Globe-News
On Nov. 5, the public will decide the fate of 10 constitutional amendments.
Passage of Proposition 5 will ensure a dedicated stream of revenue to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. The measure is important for protecting and preserving the state’s numerous natural areas, water quality and history.
State parks and historical sites also provide an important boost to local economies. For example, Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyons saw almost half a million visitor days spent at the parks last year. According to estimates, nonlocal visitors spent almost $11 million on expenses ranging from food and lodging to recreational equipment.
… By way of background, the Texas Legislature in 1993 moved to create a consistent funding stream for state parks. It designated a portion of the sales tax collected from sporting goods sales. However, the sporting goods sales tax historically has not been used to fund state parks and historical sites.
Between 1993 and 2017, Texas collected $2.5 billion in sporting goods sales tax with only 40 percent of that amount allocated to parks as funds were diverted to other items and to help ensure a balanced state budget.
However, in the most recent legislative session, lawmakers almost unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 24, which put Proposition 5 on the ballot. …
We encourage voters to educate themselves about the recreational opportunities and economic impact of the state’s robust and diverse offering of parks and historical sites. Likewise, take time to learn about all of the constitutional propositions between now and November to ensure that every vote cast is an informed vote.