Monthly Archives

October 2019

Opinion: State parks are good for business

Esterosunrisepic#21

October 11, 2019
Laredo Morning News | By Ed Whitacre, for the Express-News

In 1992, when we decided to relocate the corporate headquarters of AT&T to Texas, we did so for a number of reasons: the Texas business climate and the growth of economic opportunity; the work ethic of the Texas workforce; and the quality of life in Texas. State and local parks were an important part of our consideration.

State and local parks are essential to providing outdoor experiences to an increasingly urban state. They help preserve our Texas heritage, culture and way of life. And importantly, they are critical to our economy.

Nearly 10 million people visit state parks each year. According to a 2018 Economic Impact report, the parks generated nearly $900 million in sales, had a $240 million impact on the incomes of Texas residents and supported an estimated 6,081 jobs.

For local economies, state parks can be a tremendous economic booster. Parks are analogous to retail stores in the sense that people visit them for the attractions. The higher the quality and the more attractions inside the park, the greater the number of visits and the longer people stay — spending money in stores, hotels and restaurants along the way.

State parks help preserve our natural environment and instill in Texans a love and appreciation of the great outdoors. Generations of Texans have worked and enjoyed the land, and if we are to continue our culture, our way of life and our traditions, we need the next generation of Texans to have a deep appreciation for our roots. Appreciating our natural environment is critical in that.

Texas has 27 million people who increasingly gravitate to our parks seeking a respite from the city and a way to connect with the outdoors. The parks are overflowing and stretched to the limit as Texans seek out outdoor opportunities in a state that is 95 percent privately owned with limited public access.

Texas is a big state. We have many parks. But hurricanes and natural disasters have taken their toll, and our park system is aging and infrastructure is outdated. Chronic underfunding has placed a strain on our system. You cannot maintain an effective park system without the ability to fund long-term capital improvements.

The good news is, on Nov. 5, Texans can go to the polls and help directly address this challenge. Because of the leadership of the Texas Legislature in 2019, a constitutional amendment will be presented as Proposition 5 on the ballot in this upcoming election.

Proposition 5 will constitutionally dedicate funds from an existing sales tax on sporting goods and apply that revenue to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. This is not a new tax. It is truth in taxation, ensuring that money set aside for the purpose of protecting our parks and historical sites is used as intended.

If we are to meet the growing demand and ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoors, our parks and historical sites need a dedicated stream of funding. They are good for business, good for the economy and good for Texas. A constitutional dedication will preserve our parks and historical sites for future generations. Let’s get it right for our state, our visitors and our hardworking Texans.

Ed Whitacre is the former chairman and CEO of General Motors. He is also a former chairman of the board and CEO of AT&T Inc.

Source: https://www.lmtonline.com/opinion/commentary/article/Opinion-State-parks-are-good-for-business-14514654.php

Texas voters will have an opportunity to ensure consistent funding for state parks, historic sites

Mustang Island 20050019

October 11, 2019
Star Local Media

Texans will head to the polls and vote in a constitutional amendment election. Voters will determine whether or not to pass Proposition 5, one of 10 on the ballot, which will create a dedicated stream of revenue to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

According to the Texas Coalition for State Parks, this is important for protecting Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history, and it is vital to our economy. It does not require new taxes or fees. Funding for these sites has been historically inconsistent.

In 1993, the Texas Legislature worked to replace the 1970s and 1980s cigarette tax funding (a one-penny-per-pack tax on cigarettes) for state parks with a consistent stream of funding designated from a portion of the sales taxes collected from the sale of sporting goods, known as the Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST), according to a press release. The funds have not consistently found their way to the parks. In fact, from 1993 to 2017, the state has collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenues from the SGST, yet only 40 percent has been appropriated for parks.

In 2019, the 86th Legislature, with the leadership of State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and State Representative John Cyrier (R-Lockhart), took the step to address this and preserve our state and local parks and historic sites for future generations. The near-unanimous passage of SJR 24 paved the way for Proposition 5 to be placed on the ballot this November.

“As our state population grows, we must promote and protect our public parks and state historic sites,” said Senator Kolkhorst. “We can all agree that these special places are vital to our economy and to our Texas heritage, culture, and way of life. A reliable source of funding for state parks and historic sites is an investment in our future and a gateway to the outdoors for every Texan.”

“For too long, state lawmakers have entrusted the hardworking leaders and personnel of our state parks system with a very important job, but did not give them the resources they needed to accomplish it,” said Representative Cyrier. “This amendment will change that and provide the funding system necessary to preserve these natural treasures for future generations.”

Proposition 5 is a constitutional dedication of revenue from the existing sales tax, so those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes. Importantly, Proposition 5 requires no new taxes or fees. A “YES” vote on Proposition 5 on Nov. 5 will protect Texas’ natural areas and historic sites, so Texans do not lose the very things that make Texas a special place in which to live.

The ballot language of Proposition 5 is: “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.”

To learn more, visit supportTexasParks.org.

Source: https://starlocalmedia.com/mesquitenews/news/texas-voters-will-have-an-opportunity-to-ensure-consistent-funding/article_7c9da9bc-e3c9-11e9-8b08-b3dcaaa66731.html

State parks supporters to launch 7 city, 13 park tour to promote Prop 5

Franklin Mountains

Concho Valley Hompage (San Angelo)

The constitutional amendment would guarantee funding for state parks
AUSTIN – Environment Texas today announced a statewide tour to build public support for Proposition 5, a constitutional amendment on the ballot November 5, which would guarantee sales taxes on sporting goods go to fund state and local parks. The group will visit 13 different state parks and hold events in seven cities to encourage Texans to help make sure parks are properly funded.

“From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle. But chronic underfunding has placed a strain on an aging system with outdated infrastructure. Prop 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve.”

Texas parks already have a dedicated funding stream—sales taxes on sporting goods. But from 1993 to 2017, the state collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenues from the sporting goods sales tax (SGST), yet only 40 percent has been appropriated for parks.

Proposition 5 will amend the Texas Constitution to dedicate revenue from the SGST, so those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes.

“The Legislature has done its part, and so now the measure goes to the people,” wrote Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Representative Cyrier in a recent Dallas Morning News Editorial. “Surely we can all agree that these special places are vital to our economy and to our Texas heritage, culture and way of life.”

Environment Texas will kick off the tour with an event in McKinney Falls State Park in Austin on Oct. 7 and continue with events in Houston and Dallas on Oct. 8, in San Angelo Oct. 10, in Midland Oct. 11, in El Paso on Oct. 14. The tour will then conclude with an event in Government Canyon State Park in San Antonio on Oct. 16. Details for today’s event (Oct. 10th) are below:

Thursday, October 10, San Angelo
Time: 1 PM
Location: San Angelo State Park (south entrance of park), 362 S. FM 2288. San Angelo, TX 76901
WHO: Emma Pabst and Anna Farrell-Sherman of Environment Texas
Courtesy: Environment Texas

Source: https://www.conchovalleyhomepage.com/news/state-parks-supporters-to-launch-7-city-13-park-tour-to-promote-prop-5/

Proposition 5 looks to change sporting goods sales tax

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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.

Source: https://abc7amarillo.com/news/local/proposition-5-looks-to-change-sporting-goods-sales-tax

Support sought for state parks funding question on Nov. 5 ballot

Palo Pinto

Palo Pinto County is the only one in the state of Texas that benefits economically from three state parks, so there is much interest locally in the fate of one of 10 propositions appearing on the Nov. 5 constitutional amendments ballot.

Meet Proposition 5, which seeks to make it much more difficult for lawmakers to divert funds generated by a sporting goods sales tax meant to be dedicated to develop, improve and maintain the state’s parks and historic sites. Texas has 95 state parks, visited by over 10 million people in 2017.

When Texas legislators a quarter of a century ago approved the new tax, replacing the state’s old cigarette tax, that is what they thought they were doing. But the legislation didn’t keep future lawmakers from using most of those dollars for other funding purposes. From 1993 to 2017, the state has collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenues from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax, yet just 40 percent of that has been spent on state and local parks, according to state officials.

Proposition 5 is a constitutional dedication of revenue from the existing sales tax, so those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes. It does not require any additional fees or taxes. The ballot 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.”

Jeff Hinkson, of the Strawn Chamber of Commerce, is working to make sure voters are aware of, and vote in support of, Proposition 5 because of the impacts state parks and resources have on local economies.

“It’s extremely important that you know about this,” Hinkson told those attending and watching last week’s Envision Mineral Wells program.

Based on a 2018 Economic Impact study, the state’s parks generated more than $891 million in sales, had a $240 million impact on income for Texas residents and supported an estimated 6,081 jobs throughout the state.

There is currently more than $800 million in deferred state parks maintenance, according to officials.

“It is time to fix this problem,” said State Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, who represents District 17. “Our parks are vital to our state’s economy, emergency response efforts, wildlife management, and recreational opportunities.”

“They are trying to dig themselves out of a hole,” Hinkson said of the parks maintenance backlog.

Essentially, passage of Proposition 5 would require a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber to reduce the amount of dedicated sales tax revenues for parks, wildlife and historical agencies. The measure would prohibit the Legislature from decreasing those amounts by more than 50 percent.

In 1993, the Legislature passed House Bill 706, which authorized the state to dedicate revenue from the sales tax on sporting goods to the Parks and Wildlife Department (94%) and Historical Commission (6%). Sporting goods items are defined as “goods designed and sold for sport and sporting activities.” In 2018, the Comptroller of Public Accounts reported that two-thirds of the revenue was from the sale of bicycles and related supplies, hunting and firearm equipment, exercise equipment, and fishing tackle.

Hinkson and the Strawn chamber have a keen interest in the proposition since Palo Pinto Mountains State Park is under development. However, it has been a struggle in recent legislative sessions to receive the necessary funding. The Legislature this year did authorize $12.5 million for the park, situated around Tucker Lake in southwest Palo Pinto County. However, the park still needs private donations to open its gates to guests, Josh Havens, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department spokesman, said earlier this year.

The park will need about $8 million to $10 million from private donations. The Texas Department of Transportation has $5.3 million set aside for January 2020 to build roads and a camping loop in the park, said Adam Hammons, a state transportation department spokesman.

Ralph Duggins, chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, in an Associated Press article published by the Index. “We’ve got a big job through the Parks and Wildlife Foundation to raise that non-state money.”

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, which was founded in 1991 and raises private funds to help support the state park system, will seek donations for Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.

“I think it’s safe to say we’re confident we can raise it,” said Lydia Saldaña, a spokesman for the foundation. “This kind of public-private partnership — this is the way these transformational projects are going to happen in Texas.”

Portions of the park are open. The 90-acre Tucker Lake is open for fishing until park construction begins and does not require a fishing license.

Plans for the park include an extensive network of multi-use trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Trails will lead to remote areas of the park with expansive vistas. Campsites will include RV sites, as well as walk-in tent sites and primitive camping areas. Picnic areas and playgrounds will provide gathering places for small and large groups.

Hinkson outlined some the economic impacts derived from not only the three state parks – Palo Pinto Mountains, Possum Kingdom and Lake Mineral Wells – but also other area Texas Parks and Wildlife-managed resources including the fish hatchery at PK Lake and the Fawcett Wildlife Management area in central Palo Pinto County.

Hinkson said there are currently 48 full-time parks employees combined at those TPWD facilities, which will grow to 63 once Palo Pinto Mountains State Park is fully operational and staffed. He said the average annual salaries of the current positions is $41,000, which amounts to $1.8 million in local parks salaries paid.

That does not include the impact non-local visitors to the parks have on local economies through the purchase of goods and food.

Early voting ahead of the Nov. 5 special election runs Oct. 21-Nov. 1. For more information about the election and voting, visit https://www.votetexas.gov.

For more information about Proposition 5, visit https://www.supporttexasparks.org.

Source: https://www.mineralwellsindex.com/news/support-sought-for-state-parks-funding-question-on-nov-ballot/article_7f763790-e9e0-11e9-b4a6-9f6c5ea0152d.html

Texas state park supporters launch tour to support Proposition 5

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KTSM.com (El Paso) via KXAN | By Steffi Lee

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Supporters of state parks are traveling all over Texas to build support for a constitutional amendment that guarantees sales taxes on sporting goods will go to fund state and local parks.

Proposition 5, which will be on the ballot Nov. 5, would amend the constitution so funds from the sporting good sales tax can only go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

“In 1993, the legislators said, hey, we’re going to dedicate that sporting goods sales tax to the parks system and also to historic sites as well,” said Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart. “But over the years, the legislature hasn’t held up to that promise, quite frankly. They have diverted some of those funds and used them for other programs or used those monies for general revenues just to balance the budget and things.”

Rep. Cyrier led the effort to get the legislation passed in the Texas House.

“This is not producing a new tax and also, it’s doing what we originally said we were going to do, which is to use these funds for our parks systems and our historic sites,” he said.

Environment Texas joined the Austin Parks Foundation and the Texas Foundation for Conservation during a press conference Monday morning to encourage support of Prop 5.

“From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas,” Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, said in a statement. “They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle. But chronic underfunding has placed a strain on an aging system with outdated infrastructure. Prop. 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve.”

Kevin Lenning, who frequently visits McKinney Falls State Park, brings his dog with him to enjoy the outdoors. He says he sees a need for the ongoing support of state parks.

“I know a lot of parks down on the coast, they get hit pretty bad with the tropical storms and hurricanes and a lot of the stuff there is kind of out of commission for sometimes months or a year,” he said.

Those in support of Proposition 5 gathered at McKinney Falls Oct. 7, 2019 (Nexstar Photo/Steffi Lee)
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, co-authored and voted for Senate Joint Resolution 24, which proposes this constitutional amendment. However, she says she didn’t support the changes when the Texas House amended it to allow lawmakers to shift funds from the sporting goods sales tax away from the Parks and Wildlife Department and Historical Commission if both chambers approved it by a two-thirds vote.

“While I continue to support the resolution because it is an improvement over current law, my belief was this amendment could undermine its original intent, namely, preventing the use of funds intended for parks and historic sites for other purposes,” she said in an emailed statement. “Accordingly, I voted not to concur with the amendment.”

Source: https://www.ktsm.com/news/texas-state-park-supporters-launch-tour-to-support-proposition-5/

Texas state park supporters launch tour to support Proposition 5

Lower Mckinney Falls

Everything Lubbock via KXAN | By Steffi Lee

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Supporters of state parks are traveling all over Texas to build support for a constitutional amendment that guarantees sales taxes on sporting goods will go to fund state and local parks.

Proposition 5, which will be on the ballot Nov. 5, would amend the constitution so funds from the sporting good sales tax can only go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

“In 1993, the legislators said, hey, we’re going to dedicate that sporting goods sales tax to the parks system and also to historic sites as well,” said Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart. “But over the years, the legislature hasn’t held up to that promise, quite frankly. They have diverted some of those funds and used them for other programs or used those monies for general revenues just to balance the budget and things.”

Rep. Cyrier led the effort to get the legislation passed in the Texas House.

“This is not producing a new tax and also, it’s doing what we originally said we were going to do, which is to use these funds for our parks systems and our historic sites,” he said.

Environment Texas joined the Austin Parks Foundation and the Texas Foundation for Conservation during a press conference Monday morning to encourage support of Prop 5.

“From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas,” Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, said in a statement. “They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle. But chronic underfunding has placed a strain on an aging system with outdated infrastructure. Prop. 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve.”

Kevin Lenning, who frequently visits McKinney Falls State Park, brings his dog with him to enjoy the outdoors. He says he sees a need for the ongoing support of state parks.

“I know a lot of parks down on the coast, they get hit pretty bad with the tropical storms and hurricanes and a lot of the stuff there is kind of out of commission for sometimes months or a year,” he said.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, co-authored and voted for Senate Joint Resolution 24, which proposes this constitutional amendment. However, she says she didn’t support the changes when the Texas House amended it to allow lawmakers to shift funds from the sporting goods sales tax away from the Parks and Wildlife Department and Historical Commission if both chambers approved it by a two-thirds vote.

“While I continue to support the resolution because it is an improvement over current law, my belief was this amendment could undermine its original intent, namely, preventing the use of funds intended for parks and historic sites for other purposes,” she said in an emailed statement. “Accordingly, I voted not to concur with the amendment.”

Texas state park supporters launch tour to support Proposition 5

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Fox 51/EastTexasMatters.com via KXAN | By Steffi Lee

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Supporters of state parks are traveling all over Texas to build support for a constitutional amendment that guarantees sales taxes on sporting goods will go to fund state and local parks.

Proposition 5, which will be on the ballot Nov. 5, would amend the constitution so funds from the sporting good sales tax can only go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

“In 1993, the legislators said, hey, we’re going to dedicate that sporting goods sales tax to the parks system and also to historic sites as well,” said Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart. “But over the years, the legislature hasn’t held up to that promise, quite frankly. They have diverted some of those funds and used them for other programs or used those monies for general revenues just to balance the budget and things.”

Rep. Cyrier led the effort to get the legislation passed in the Texas House.

“This is not producing a new tax and also, it’s doing what we originally said we were going to do, which is to use these funds for our parks systems and our historic sites,” he said.

Environment Texas joined the Austin Parks Foundation and the Texas Foundation for Conservation during a press conference Monday morning to encourage support of Prop 5.

“From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas,” Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, said in a statement. “They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle. But chronic underfunding has placed a strain on an aging system with outdated infrastructure. Prop. 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve.”

Kevin Lenning, who frequently visits McKinney Falls State Park, brings his dog with him to enjoy the outdoors. He says he sees a need for the ongoing support of state parks.

“I know a lot of parks down on the coast, they get hit pretty bad with the tropical storms and hurricanes and a lot of the stuff there is kind of out of commission for sometimes months or a year,” he said.

Those in support of Proposition 5 gathered at McKinney Falls Oct. 7, 2019 (Nexstar Photo/Steffi Lee)
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, co-authored and voted for Senate Joint Resolution 24, which proposes this constitutional amendment. However, she says she didn’t support the changes when the Texas House amended it to allow lawmakers to shift funds from the sporting goods sales tax away from the Parks and Wildlife Department and Historical Commission if both chambers approved it by a two-thirds vote.

“While I continue to support the resolution because it is an improvement over current law, my belief was this amendment could undermine its original intent, namely, preventing the use of funds intended for parks and historic sites for other purposes,” she said in an emailed statement. “Accordingly, I voted not to concur with the amendment.”

Source: https://www.easttexasmatters.com/news/texas-state-park-supporters-launch-tour-to-support-proposition-5/

Texas state park supporters launch tour to support Proposition 5

Lower Mckinney Falls

October 7, 2019
KRBC (Abilene)/BigCountryHomepage.com | By Steffi Lee

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Supporters of state parks are traveling all over Texas to build support for a constitutional amendment that guarantees sales taxes on sporting goods will go to fund state and local parks.

Proposition 5, which will be on the ballot Nov. 5, would amend the constitution so funds from the sporting good sales tax can only go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

“In 1993, the legislators said, hey, we’re going to dedicate that sporting goods sales tax to the parks system and also to historic sites as well,” said Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart. “But over the years, the legislature hasn’t held up to that promise, quite frankly. They have diverted some of those funds and used them for other programs or used those monies for general revenues just to balance the budget and things.”

Rep. Cyrier led the effort to get the legislation passed in the Texas House.

“This is not producing a new tax and also, it’s doing what we originally said we were going to do, which is to use these funds for our parks systems and our historic sites,” he said.

Environment Texas joined the Austin Parks Foundation and the Texas Foundation for Conservation during a press conference Monday morning to encourage support of Prop 5.

“From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas,” Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, said in a statement. “They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle. But chronic underfunding has placed a strain on an aging system with outdated infrastructure. Prop. 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve.”

Kevin Lenning, who frequently visits McKinney Falls State Park, brings his dog with him to enjoy the outdoors. He says he sees a need for the ongoing support of state parks.

“I know a lot of parks down on the coast, they get hit pretty bad with the tropical storms and hurricanes and a lot of the stuff there is kind of out of commission for sometimes months or a year,” he said.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, co-authored and voted for Senate Joint Resolution 24, which proposes this constitutional amendment. However, she says she didn’t support the changes when the Texas House amended it to allow lawmakers to shift funds from the sporting goods sales tax away from the Parks and Wildlife Department and Historical Commission if both chambers approved it by a two-thirds vote.

“While I continue to support the resolution because it is an improvement over current law, my belief was this amendment could undermine its original intent, namely, preventing the use of funds intended for parks and historic sites for other purposes,” she said in an emailed statement. “Accordingly, I voted not to concur with the amendment.”

Source: https://www.bigcountryhomepage.com/news/texas-state-park-supporters-launch-tour-to-support-proposition-5/

Voter registration deadline is Monday October 7

Devils River 8319

October 6, 2019
SA Examiner | By Sandra Cruz

On November 5, Texans will head to the polls and vote in a constitutional amendment election. Voters will determine whether or not to pass Proposition 5, one of 10 on the ballot, which will create a dedicated stream of revenue to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. This is important for protecting Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history, and it is vital to our economy. (Texas Coalition for State Parks, 2019)

For Texans, the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming constitutional amendment election this fall is Monday, October 7, 2019, as voters must submit their voter registration at least 30 days before the election date. Those interested in voting on ballot items on November 5, 2019 can find out if they are registered to vote in the state, how to register if not, and discover where they can cast their ballots by visiting the links on the Texas Coalition for State Parks’ elections page.

Proposition 5 is a constitutional dedication of revenue from the existing sales tax, so those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites and not for any other purposes. This Proposition requires no new taxes or fees. A “YES” vote on Proposition 5 on November 5 will protect Texas’ natural areas and historic sites, so Texans do not lose the very things that make Texas a special place in which to live.

The ballot language of Proposition 5 is: “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.”

The Texas Coalition for State Parks, was launched by a group of former Texas Parks & Wildlife Commissioners and park advocates with the sole purpose of advocating for a constitutional dedication of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks funding. The Texas Coalition for State Parks PAC was formed to engage voters ahead of the November 5, 2019 election and encourage them to support Proposition 5.

“As our state population grows, we must promote and protect our public parks and state historic sites. We can all agree that these special places are vital to our economy and to our Texas heritage, culture, and way of life. A reliable source of funding for state parks and historic sites is an investment in our future and a gateway to the outdoors for every Texan.” – State Senator Lois Kolkhorst

“For too long, state lawmakers have entrusted the hardworking leaders and personnel of our state parks system with a very important job, but did not give them the resources they needed to accomplish it. This amendment will change that and provide the funding system necessary to preserve these natural treasures for future generations.” – State Representative John Cyrier

Source:https://saexaminer.org/2019/10/06/voter-registration-deadline-is-monday-october-7/

© 2019 Texas Coalition for State Parks. Political Ad by Texas Coalition for State Parks PAC.