KVII (AMARILLO) | By Corbin Voges
1993 marked the birth of the sporting goods sales tax.
“The legislature made a decision to dedicate a portion of the sport sales tax derived from sporting goods and take that money and use it for the parks. That was a good idea I think at the time, but the problem is over the years, that money has gradually been eroded by the legislature, taking money out and putting it into other projects,” said Representative John Smithee.
Up until now, nothing has stopped lawmakers from putting their hands in this cookie jar.
That is what Proposition 5 intends to change.
Jenifer Sarver said, “So what will happen with proposition 5 is, it will force the lawmakers to appropriate the full amount of the sporting good sales tax to both the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife and the Texas Historical Commission. At this point they are not required to appropriate the full amount every year, thus they have not done so.”
A 2018 study showed that 900 million dollars of economic impact is generated by our state parks each year.
“When people stay at a local park, they stay at a local hotel, they go to a local grocery store, they eat at a local restaurant. So, these become lifeblood’s for the local community,” said Sarver.
If Proposition 5 passes, over 90% of the tax revenue goes to parks and wildlife, and the other seven percent to historical sites.
Sarver goes on to state, “many of our parks were developed in the 1930s. So you can imagine that some of the buildings need to be updated. Many of the bathrooms need to be updated, playgrounds need to be updated to meet new safety standards. So a lot of it is about updating and modernizing the parks,” The only way that lawmakers would be able to use these funds for other purposes is to have a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.
For more information about Proposition 5, you can go here.
To look at all 10 propositions, you can go here.