Protecting our Parks

On January 30, 2019, Rep. Cyrier filed House Bill 1214 and House Joint Resolution 39, which would amend the Texas Constitution to dedicate revenue from the state’s Sporting Goods Sales Tax to fund the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission.

The Sporting Goods Sales Tax was intended to fund the parks and historical commission, but the legislature has frequently diverted these funds to elsewhere in the budget, leaving our parks and historical sites badly underfunded. In fact, from 1993 to 2017, the state collected nearly $2.5 billion from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax but less than 40 percent has been appropriated to our state parks.

As a result, Texas state parks have fallen into a state of disrepair after decades of deferred maintenance. Many have been forced to close at times due to lack of maintenance, such as broken and unusable restroom facilities. For a state with such natural beauty and a heritage of sporting and outdoor recreation, this is an embarrassment. It is time to end the practice of raiding funds intended for our parks and historical sites, and repair our state’s most treasured places—from the Palo Duro Canyon to Mustang Island, the Davis Mountains to the forests of lakes of East Texas, and everywhere in between.

Millions of people visit Texas every year to recreate and enjoy our state’s scenic and historical wonders. Tourism in Texas accounts for billions of dollars in economic impact and more than one million Texas jobs. By preserving our state’s natural treasures, we pass on an inheritance to future generations of Texans and contribute to our state’s economic prosperity.