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October 2019

GUEST VIEW: Vote to fund State Parks

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Odessa American | By Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. John Cyrier

Some of our families’ best summer adventures over the years have been at Texas’ state parks. And the numbers indicate that you and your family have probably enjoyed our parks and historic sites over the years, too: nearly 10 million people visited state parks in 2017, up about 40 percent since 2012.

Texas is growing quickly. More people are visiting the parks than ever before, and we couldn’t be happier about it. However, this puts pressure on already-strained park infrastructure, much of which is ailing.

Altogether, our state parks sit on about 640,000 acres of land, much of which was first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and 40s. In the decades that followed, the infrastructure — from roads, to marinas, campgrounds, swimming pools, utility systems, sewage treatment, you name it — simply hasn’t kept up with 21st century demands.

For example, 91 percent of the 113 playgrounds are 30 years old or older, and 50 of those are in urgent need of replacement. And 90 percent of the 491 restroom facilities in the parks are over 30 years old, with 300 needing to be removed or replaced.

Now there’s something on which the Texas Legislature should take action, don’t you think?

We sure thought so. We love Texas’ state parks and want to preserve them for future generations of Texans to love and enjoy, too. And that’s why we worked hard this year to pass bipartisan legislation that would amend the state constitution accordingly.

The next and final step is to put the issue before Texas voters in this November’s election. It’ll be Proposition 5 on the ballot.

Proposition 5 is a constitutional dedication of revenue from the existing sales tax so that those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to maintain public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes. (From 1993 to 2017, the state collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenue from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax, yet only 40 percent was appropriated for parks, with the rest used to fill in gaps elsewhere in the state budget.)

A yes vote on Proposition 5 on Nov. 5 will protect our natural areas and historic sites, so that we don’t lose the very things that make Texas such a special place to live.

Make no mistake: Sustainable, consistent funding is the fiscally conservative and economically sound way to ensure our parks endure for years and years to come.

One very important thing to note: Proposition 5 results in no new taxes. None. Not now, not in the future. The taxes that businesses pay will not increase; nor will the sales taxes of individual Texans increase. One of the things that makes Texas such a great place to live and work is the low tax burden that drives growth and keeps government small. As fiscal conservatives, we believe we can achieve our goals and invest in what’s important simply by being smarter and more responsible with the state revenue that we already have.

Think of it as putting a little more truth in our taxation.

The Legislature has done its part, and so now the measure goes to the people. Surely we can all agree that these special places are vital to our economy and to our Texas heritage, culture and way of life.

Lois Kolkhorst is a Republican representing Brenham in the Texas Senate. John Cyrier is a Republican representing Lockhart in the Texas House.

Source: https://www.oaoa.com/editorial/columns/guest_columns/article_660ccde2-e61f-11e9-97a3-b30d2c9ddd21.html

Voters have until Monday to register to vote in November election

American And Texas Flags Flying At The Texas State Capitol Building In Austin

Bay City Tribune

Voters have until Monday to register to vote in November election Texas voters have until Monday, Oct. 7 to register to vote in the upcoming CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT election set for Nov. 5. Ten propositions will be on the ballot for Texas voters. In order to appear on the ballot, the proposed amendments must be approved by at least two-thirds of the members of both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The future of Texas is and will always be in the hands of Texans, said Deputy Secretary Jose Esparza. This fall, voters will have the opportunity to directly impact the Texas Constitution, and I strongly encourage all eligible Texans to register to vote so that they can actively participate in shaping the future of the Lone Star State. Voters must submit their voter registration at least 30 days before the election date. Those interested in voting on ballot items on Nov. 5, 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 at: https://www.supporttexasparks.org/election/

Source: http://baycitytribune.com/news/article_a75f81fe-e7a0-11e9-bec4-638009994288.html

Ballot proposition tackles funding for Texas state parks

Caddo Team

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.

Source:https://www.ktbs.com/news/texarkana/ballot-proposition-tackles-funding-for-texas-state-parks/article_651bcf76-e55e-11e9-9190-cb89c398110f.html/

TEXANS CAN KEEP STATE PARKS FUNDED WITHOUT NEW TAXES, HERE’S HOW

Wideopenspaces

September 29, 2019
Wide Open Spaces | Staff Writer

The upcoming November, 2019 election represents a historic opportunity for Texans to secure funds for wild places.
Outdoorsmen and women can talk all they want about conservation and protecting our heritage, but when you have tangible ways of making a difference, the opportunities speak for themselves.

That’s why it’s worth paying attention to the upcoming November 5, 2019 election in Texas, where voters have a chance to ensure funds pulled from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax go towards support of state parks and historic sites.

Proposition 5 introduces an Amendment to the Texas Constitution that addresses the need for a continual stream of resources, but doesn’t require any new taxes or fees. The idea is to preserve the very things we appreciate about the state.

It’s about having more places to fish, with water qualities high enough to support populations. It’s about protecting and improving space for wildlife to thrive. It’s about giving kids more places to camp and hike.

The Texas Coalition for State Parks has been pushing for the approval of Prop 5, and has created a web resource with more info, including this video.

Basically, this is a chance for Texans to put their votes where their intentions are. If Texas’ natural areas are important to you, here’s something you can do.

It’s rare that we let politics creep into the things we cover, but this is a no-brainer that the audience in Texas should at least read up on.

Residents have a voter registration deadline of Monday, October 7, 2019, and early voting starts on Monday, October 21, 2019, and runs through Friday, November 1, 2019. The general election day is on November 5, 2019.

The proposition is officially called Texas Proposition 5, Sales Tax on Sporting Goods Dedicated to Parks, Wildlife, and Historical Agencies Amendment (2019). Should it fail to pass, the Texas legislature will be allowed to decide how much of the revenue from the sales tax on sporting goods is allocated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

Deciding to vote and determining which way you’ll swing on Prop. 5 is entirely up to you. A Constitutional Amendment that would change a current law isn’t something to be taken lightly. Just know that the wild places of Texas depend on Texas voters educating themselves and taking action on ballot measures where it’s necessary.

Source:https://www.wideopenspaces.com/texans-can-keep-state-parks-funded-without-new-taxes-heres-how/

Amending Texas’ Constitution, understanding the ballot

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October 2, 2019
Navasota Examiner | By Connie Clements

Propositions 5 and 6

Early voting begins Oct. 21 and the Navasota Examiner will publish the 10 proposed Constitutional amendments over the next few weeks. The Condensed Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, 86th Legislative Session for the Nov. 5, 2019 Election is published by the Texas Legislative Council and available at: https://www.tlc.texas.gov/docs/amendments/analyses19_condensed.pdf.A detailed analysis is available at: https://www.tlc.texas.gov/docs/amendments/analyses19.pdf.

Summary of Comments

The following comments supporting or opposing the proposed constitutional amendment reflect positions that were presented in committee proceedings, during house or senate floor debate, or in the analysis of the resolution prepared by the House Research Organization (HRO) when the resolution was considered by the House of Representatives.

Proposition 5 (S.J.R. 24)

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.

Summary Analysis

S.J.R. 24 proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution to automatically appropriate all state revenue attributable to state sales and use taxes imposed on sporting goods to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. The proposed amendment provides that the money is to be allocated between the agencies in the manner provided by general law and authorizes the legislature to impose limitations on the agencies’ use of the money. The proposed amendment allows the legislature by a two-thirds vote to temporarily reduce by up to 50 percent the amount of the money appropriated to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission and provides that the money appropriated to the agencies may not be used by the comptroller of public accounts for purposes of certifying the biennial state budget.

Comments by Supporters:

• State parks in Texas received a record 9.7 million visits in fiscal year 2017. Chronic underfunding of the state park system, however, has left many parks unable to safely and adequately accommodate visitors. The constitutional amendment will help to ensure that our parks have the resources they need to adequately fund deferred maintenance projects, maintain appropriate staff levels, ensure visitor safety, and expand to meet the needs of a growing population.

• Ensuring that the Texas Historical Commission continues to receive appropriate sporting goods sales tax revenue will afford the commission the ability to properly manage and maintain the many historic sites under the commission’s control.

• Although current law provides for the allocation of sporting goods sales tax revenue to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission, the amount of that revenue actually appropriated by the legislature to the agencies is often substantially less than the total amount of revenue derived from that tax. This discrepancy leaves the agencies underfunded and unable to engage in long-term planning due to ever-changing funding levels. Providing for the automatic appropriation of sporting goods sales tax revenue will ensure that there is a sustained and predictable funding mechanism for the state park system and the state’s historic sites.

• State parks generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in economic benefits for the state’s rural communities. Ensuring that the state park system is properly funded will allow local communities in and around state parks to continue to thrive.

Comments by Opponents:

• Providing for the automatic appropriation of sporting goods sales tax revenue to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission in the state constitution deprives the legislature of the ability to elect to use a portion of that revenue for other purposes determined by the legislature to be as important to the state as parks and historic sites, such as balancing the state’s budget or responding to an emergency.

• Amending the constitution to address this issue is unnecessary. The legislature has the ability to fund state agencies and programs at levels the legislature determines are appropriate through the biennial appropriations process, which is how the vast majority of state agencies and programs are funded. There is no need to treat the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission differently from other state agencies in this regard.

Proposition 6 (H.J.R. 12)

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Summary Analysis

Section 67, Article III, Texas Constitution, governs the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The constitutional amendment proposed by H.J.R. 12 would amend Section 67(c), Article III, Texas Constitution, to increase from $3 billion to $6 billion the maximum amount of general obligation bonds the legislature by general law may authorize the Texas Public Finance Authority to provide for, issue, and sell on behalf of the institute.

Comments by Supporters:

• Increasing the amount of bond funding available for the institute is essential to ensuring the institute maintains its status as a national leader in cancer research and prevention.

• Without an increase in the amount of bond funding, the institute runs the risk of exhausting its available pool of money from which to make grants before the statutory authority to make the grants expires in state fiscal year 2022.

• A sustainable and predictable level of funding is essential for the institute to effectively plan for the future and complete necessary research.

• The institute is a noble cause worthy of increased state funding. The institute supports world-renowned scholars and cancer researchers, including a 2018 Nobel Prize recipient, who have produced meaningful and measurable positive results from institute funding.

• The benefits of increased funding for the institute outweigh the costs. The institute programs have helped improve health outcomes, produced numerous positive economic benefits, and generated billions of dollars in state economic activity, including by encouraging biotech companies to expand in or relocate to Texas and increasing job creation in this state.

Comments by Opponents:

• Doubling the size of the original commitment of taxpayer money for the institute unduly increases state debt.

• Although cancer research is honorable and necessary, funding such research is not a necessary state function. An increased bond commitment will necessitate interest payments and future appropriations, and that money could be better spent on other state priorities.

• The institute does not need an additional $3 billion in taxpayer money at this time because the institute has not yet exhausted its original funding amount of $3 billion.

• Instead of giving the institute more state money, the state should assist in crafting a plan to ensure the institute is financially self-sufficient and able to achieve longterm success without reliance on increased taxpayer assistance.

Source: https://www.navasotaexaminer.com/article/news/amending-texas%E2%80%99-constitution-understanding-ballot-1

FALL 2019 Texas Voter Registration deadline is this Monday

Franklin Mountains

October 2, 2019
Nueces County Record Star

Less than a week remains to register to vote in the November 2019 constitutional amendment election.

For Texans, the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming constitutional amendment election this fall is Monday, Oct. 7, as voters must submit their voter registration at least 30 days before the election date. Those interested in voting on ballot items on Nov. 5, 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 at: https://www.supporttexasparks.org/election/.

For more information, visit: https://www.votetexas.gov/index.html.

About the Texas Coalition for State Parks:
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 has formed to engage voters ahead of the November 5, 2019 election and encourage them to support Proposition 5. More information can be found at www.SupportTexasParks.org.

Source:https://www.recordstar.com/news/20191002/fall-2019-texas-voter-registration-deadline-is-this-monday

FALL 2019 Texas Voter Registration deadline is this Monday

Fort Leaton 3554

October 2, 2019
Alice Echo News Journal

Less than a week remains to register to vote in the November 2019 constitutional amendment election.

For Texans, the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming constitutional amendment election this fall is Monday, Oct. 7, as voters must submit their voter registration at least 30 days before the election date. Those interested in voting on ballot items on Nov. 5, 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 at: https://www.supporttexasparks.org/election/.

For more information, visit: https://www.votetexas.gov/index.html.

About the Texas Coalition for State Parks:
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 has formed to engage voters ahead of the November 5, 2019 election and encourage them to support Proposition 5. More information can be found at www.SupportTexasParks.org.

Source:https://www.alicetx.com/news/20191002/fall-2019-texas-voter-registration-deadline-is-this-monday/

Fall 2019 Texas Voter Registration Deadline Is This Monday October 7, 2019

American And Texas Flags Flying At The Texas State Capitol Building In Austin

October 2, 2019
The Gilmer Mirror

Less than a week remains to register to vote in the November 2019 constitutional amendment election

WHAT: 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 at: https://www.supporttexasparks.org/election/.

WHO: All Eligible Texans

WHEN: Monday, October 7, 2019 – Deadline to register to vote!

WHERE: For more information, visit: https://www.votetexas.gov/index.html

About the Texas Coalition for State Parks:

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 has formed to engage voters ahead of the November 5, 2019 election and encourage them to support Proposition 5. More information can be found at www.SupportTexasParks.org.

Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – FALL 2019 TEXAS VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS THIS MONDAY OCTOBER 7 2019

Source:https://www.ktbs.com/news/texarkana/ballot-proposition-tackles-funding-for-texas-state-parks/article_651bcf76-e55e-11e9-9190-cb89c398110f.html/

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