October 2, 2019
KTBS | Julie Parr
ATLANTA, Texas – As Texas voters head to the polls on Nov. 5th, they’ll see future funding for state parks and historical agencies on the ballot.
Proposition 5 is one of 10 proposed constitutional amendments.
Proponents of the constitutional amendment say that funding for state parks and historic sites has been historically inconsistent.
The goal of the measure is to change that.
Statewide, parks generate more than $891 million in sales activity.
In Northeast Texas, Atlanta State Park, Daingerfield State Park, and Caddo Lake State Park bring in $1.4 million from visitors outside the region.
Supporters of Proposition 5 say the election is about protecting the state’s natural areas, water quality, and history, and it is vital to the region’s economy.
Since 1993, the state of Texas has been collecting about $2.5 billion in revenue from the sales of sporting goods to help fund state parks and historic sites.
However, only 40 percent of that revenue has gone to the parks department.
The rest has been allocated elsewhere by state lawmakers.
“There’s an $800 million back log across the state of Texas in upgrades and maintenance that has not been performed at state parks. So, this would be an investment into the future for the economy, but nature is good for much more than the economy. It’s good for the soul,” explained Laura-Ashley Overdyke, Executive Director, Caddo Lake Institute.
The measure does not call for a tax increase or fees.
If approved, Proposition 5 would come close to ensuring the money goes to parks and historic sites, but there are stipulations in the amendment.
Lawmakers can temporarily re-allocate funds during a legislative session with a two-thirds majority vote.