Voters in Texas next week will have a chance to vote for Proposition 5, which would direct current sales tax revenues on sporting goods solely to fund Texas parks and historical sites without raising any new taxes or fees.
The move comes following the passage of a law in 1993 that sought to fund the upkeep and expansion of parks and historical sites. However, at least half of the money collected for that purpose ended up going to the general fund for other uses.
An op-ed published in the Caller-Times notes that Prop 5 is a bipartisan measure that would ensure a future for the state’s parks and historical sites.
"Proposition 5 would add language to the Texas Constitution to dedicate revenue from the sales tax on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission,” wrote Barbara Canales, a judge in Nueces County. “Funding derived from Prop 5 would protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites — again, while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”
Texas has about 640,000 acres of state parkland (1,000 square miles) which is less than one half of one percent of Texas’ 261,914 square miles, and last year 10 million people visited Texas’ state parks.
“Dedicated state parks funding through passage of Proposition 5 will enable generations of urban dwellers to connect with the land and understand what it means to be a Texan,” urged Canlaes, “In addition to parks funding for outdoor recreation, the benefit to Texas historical sites is icing on the cake for native-born Texans and newcomers alike.”