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June Bug

State Park Funding: Vote Nov. 5th

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Texas'  state parks are desperately underfunded, but shouldn't be.   Palo Duro, Big Bend Ranch, Pedernales Falls, Government Canyon, Colorado Bend, Franklin Mountains, Hill Country SNA, Seminole Canyon, Caprock Canyons  are  state parks with viable mountain biking trail systems.  This post lays out why state parks are underfunded and what can be done about it; here's the gist of the post below:   On November 5, Texans will have the opportunity to vote YES on Proposition 5 to protect Texas' natural areas, water quality, and history. Importantly, this requires no new taxes or fees. Prop. 5 will dedicate revenue from the SGST [Sporting Goods 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. 

Quote

October 2019

Did you know that every time you purchase a sporting good – like a bicycle, fishing tackle, golf equipment, or a kayak – a portion of the existing tax you pay is called the Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST)? This tax was created in 1993 to help fund state parks and from 1993 to 2017 more than $2.5 billion has been realized from the SGST.

Unfortunately, only 40% of those funds have made their way to our parks and the annual changes in funding have made long-term planning for parks near impossible. Many of our parks and historical sites face serious structural challenges from deteriorating and outdated infrastructure, harsh environmental conditions, and extreme weather events including floods and droughts. There are five parks still waiting to be opened. All the while, visitation has continued to increase, approaching 10 million visitations each year.

Fortunately, the 86th Texas Legislature had two stalwart champions – State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and State Rep. John Cyrier—who wanted to ensure that our parks and historical sites had consistent, reliable funding for generations to come. A bill to put a constitutional dedication of the SGST on the ballot passed with near unanimous support, demonstrating the widespread recognition that it was long past time to address this issue.

Now it’s our turn to do our part. On November 5, Texans will have the opportunity to vote YES on Proposition 5 to protect Texas' natural areas, water quality, and history. Importantly, this requires no new taxes or fees. Prop. 5 will 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.

I hope you will join me and other members of the outdoor community and vote YES on Prop. 5 on Nov. 5.

For more information on this issue, visit www.SupportTexasParks.org or follow the campaign on Twitter and Instagram, and like the Texas Coalition for State Parks on Facebook to help spread the word.

Sincerely,

Mary Anne Piacentini
President and Chief Executive Officer #katyprairieconservancy #texascoalitionforstateparks

As noted above, there are parks waiting to be opened, and at least one of these has great trail potential.  Without adequate funding, the development and opening of these parks will proceed at a glacial pace. 

 
Edited by June Bug
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Yep, this one is on my radar.  We really need more funding for the parks - stealing it to prop up some other program has always annoyed me. 

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