Protecting our Parks

Rep. Cyrier led the charge in the House authoring and passing SJR 24 and SB 26, which will allow voters to constitutionally dedicate the sporting goods sales tax to fund our state parks and historic sites. This is an existing tax that is already collected by the state.

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.

In this November’s election, voters will be able to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment. This provides an opportunity to provide a stable and reliable funding source to preserve our state parks, not only for their conservation and recreational benefits, but also as staples of our fishing, hunting, outdoor sporting, and tourism industries.

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.

Remember to vote “YES” on Proposition 5 this November to preserve our state parks in Texas.