Texas parks are broke. But there’s good news: voters can rescue them.
Money intended for state parks and historic sites should actually be spent on state parks and historic sites, right?
It took lawmakers a little more than a quarter century to reach that conclusion. Since 1993, sales tax collected from the purchase of sporting goods and outdoor gear was supposed to fund Texas’s system of much-loved yet perpetually cash-strapped state parks and historic sites. Buy a kayak in Texas? In theory, you’re a park benefactor. Same for the purchase of baseball gloves and fishing poles, exercise bikes and the like.
But legislators couldn’t resist withholding the revenue from state parks in order to shore up the state’s general budget. From 1993 to 2015, in fact, just 40 percent of an estimated $2.5 billion in sporting goods sales tax ever made its way to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to both operate state parks and provide grants for local and regional parks.
Read more from Wes Ferguson with Texas Monthly here