October 23, 2019
Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post | By Ernie Loeffler
Early voting has started on 10 Texas constitutional amendments. Now I know some of you are probably thinking “So what? I am busy and don’t have time to go vote.”
However, it is extremely important for everyone who wants more support for state and local parks and state historical sites to go out and vote “yes” for Proposition 5.
Proposition 5 would dedicate revenue from the existing sales tax on sporting goods so that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission would receive 100% of the sales tax on sporting goods every year, providing a reliable and sustained source of funding – without increasing taxes.
The proposition reads: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing State sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the State sales and use taxes.”
You might ask, “Didn’t we already vote on this?”
Yes, we did. Unfortunately, the State Legislature over the years has diverted part of the sales and use taxes collected from sporting goods for other state purposes. Now, I am sure those were real needs. However, I believe the intent of the voters was for all of those taxes to be used for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
So, it is time to reaffirm our intent as citizens of the state. Please vote “yes” on Proposition 5.
According to a Texas Conservation Alliance flyer, Proposition 5 will direct an estimated $183 million to state and local parks and historic sites in the first year.
Who will benefit? All of the citizens of Texas (and visitors to our state) who use state and local parks and visit state historic sites will benefit in the long run.
The population of Texas is increasing rapidly, but the state parks lands are not due to lack of funding. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a classic example of more and more park users wanting to enjoy the same amount of park space.
In addition to E Rock, other area state facilities that could get much-needed additional funding include LBJ State Park and Historic Site, Old Tunnel State Park and the National Museum of the Pacific War, which is part of The Texas Historical Commission.
There will also be the opportunity for grants for local governments to upgrade city and county parks.
In addition to Proposition 5, there are nine other constitutional amendments. And in the City of Fredericksburg, there is also the vote on fluoridation of the public water system.
Early voting is taking place now at Gillespie County Annex 2, located at 102 East San Antonio Street on Mondays through Fridays until November 1.
Election day is Tuesday, November 5. Watch this newspaper for polling locations on election day.
Thanks for supporting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission with a “yes” vote on Proposition 5.
Loeffler is the president and CEO of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau.