Letter to the Editor, Legislature approves funding for parks

by Jensie Madden, Comal County, TX, with the Comal County Conservation Alliance

Letter to the Editor of New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung

Published June 11, 2019

As the 86th session of the Texas Legislature draws to a close, I am celebrating the passage of legislation to allow Texans to vote in support of state parks.

Thanks to the co-sponsorship of Senator Donna Campbell and Representative Kyle Biedermann along with many other legislators, a joint resolution will allow for the placement of a Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot.

I urge voters to say “yes” in November to dedicate the Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) to state and local parks.

The SGST was designed to create a steady stream of funding for our state and local parks. From 1993 to 2017, the state has collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenues from the SGST, yet only 40 percent has actually gone to parks. The constitutional dedication of these funds will ensure consistent funding for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

If voters approve this constitutional amendment in November, our own Guadalupe River State Park and Honey Creek Natural Area will benefit from having predictable funding to repair and maintain aging infrastructure and to address the growing demands on their resources by an increasing population in Central Texas.

The Comal County Conservation Alliance worked in support of this legislation as part of the Texas Coalition for State Parks because preserving these special places deserves public investment. I am happy that our legislators agree.