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HCC Conservation Forum

State Park Funding in jeopardy
Author Last Post
How many have actually written their legislator:
Here is my response from mine.

Dear Ms. Hammond,

 

Thank you for contacting me to express your support of House Bill 78. I appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

 

As you may know, HB 78 was authored by Representative Guillen and promises to allocate revenue from sales taxes on sporting goods to the Parks and Wildlife Department. Rest assured that I will remain engaged on this issue. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind if this legislation is heard on the House Floor.

 

Again, thank you for reaching out to me. I appreciate it when members of my community voice their concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance to you.

 

May God bless you, your family, and the Great State of Texas.

 

Will Metcalf
State Representative
House District 16

 
I have written my legislator.
 
I received this in my mail today, from Janice Bezanson, Executive Director of Texas Conservation Alliance:

To TCA Member Organizations:

Folks, we all thought that legislation passed in the last session forever dedicated 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to fund state parks. NOT SO!

Because of an error in the wording of a related piece of legislation, dedication of the 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks was NOT PERMANENT, as intended. The bill that was passed wound up providing funding for state parks only for the 2016-2017 biennium.

Unless the Texas Legislature takes action before the end of the current session (May 29), Texas state parks will see a $92.5 million short-fall for the 2018-2019 biennium. This shortfall will have dire consequences for the state park system. Reduced staff will mean reduced hours of operation for many parks. Some parks will have to be closed altogether. Repairs that have begun will not be completed. And the development of new parks, such as Palo Pinto Mountains State Park near Fort Worth, will not happen.

Passage of House Bill 78, by Representative Ryan Guillen, would correct the error in bill language and dedicate 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks into the future, as was originally intended. The House Appropriations Committee has yet to have a hearing on HB 78.

If passed, HB 78 would not take effect in time to correct the short-fall for the 2018-2019 biennium. To provide the missing $92.5 million that was supposed to have been dedicated to state parks, the Texas Legislature will have to vote to appropriate those funds from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax. The conference committee has been formed. Unless the conference committee and the Legislature move to correct the mistaken language and appropriate the $92.5 million in the Sporting Goods Sales Tax, long-overdue repairs in Texas state parks will not take place and Texans’ park experiences will continue to decline.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Let your members know the value of contacting their state senators and state reps. Their "ask" to state legislators is two-fold:

1. That the legislators request a hearing on House Bill 78, which would authorize 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks, as intended.

2. That the legislators urge the conference committee to fully appropriate 94% of Sporting Goods Sales Tax for the coming biennium.

This is a BIG DEAL, Folks. Please take action NOW!

Thanks,

Janice

Janice Bezanson, Executive Director
Texas Conservation Alliance
254-947-5572, Cell 512-327-4119
bezanson@texas.net
TCAtexas.org
 
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