Banner legislative session for Texas parks

By Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Write-up from George Bristol, Chairman of the Texas Coalition for State Parks, on a historic legislative session for our parks.

Friends:

The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature has come and gone and it was a banner session for Texas Parks. The headline of, of course, is the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 24 and Senate Bill 26, which paves the way for the constitutional dedication of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax. Texas voters will have the opportunity to vote on the measure this November. Stay tuned for news on how you can support the effort. Because dedicated funds will be vital for future years, I wanted to provide you a deeper dive into how the Parks fared for the next biennium.

HB1, the budget for the 2020-21 biennium included:

  • A full allocation of $321,574,000 in Sporting Goods Sales Tax,
  • $12.5M in General Revenue for the Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, and
  • $1.0M for law enforcement equipment.

And, in addition, the Legislature added the following to TPWD’s bill pattern:

  • $250,000 in General Revenue for oxygen tanks for Law Enforcement to use for drowning victims,
  • $11.0M in General Revenue for specific Local Park Grants, and
  • $500,000 in General Revenue for the Texas State Aquarium.

A SUMMARY OF FUNDING DECISIONS FOR TPWD’S EXCEPTIONAL ITEMS (EI) IS AS FOLLOWS:

EI#1 State Parks: $4,431,711 (from SGST-Extra BRE) and all 52.4 FTEs adopted. It appears this amount may cover salary amounts only, but not any additional operating needed for the FTEs (i.e. equipment, consumables, travel, etc.).

EI#2 Palo Pinto Mountains SP: $12.5M in GR (Note: this amount can be significantly leveraged with federal funds).

EI#3 Capital Construction: Total conference committee amounts for capital construction (both base and exceptional) is $118.2M. This consists of $18.9M in UB. (FF, AR & Bonds), $91.3M SGST-5004 (original base request of $46.85M + $41.55M max out SGST in base +$2.9M SGST extra BRE), and $8M Fund 9.

EI#4 Law Enforcement: $1.0 M in GR-D Fund 9 for equipment in HB 1 and $5.0M in ESF for radios in the supplemental, SB 500.

EI#5 CAPPS Financials: $2,357,528 in GR (10.9 FTEs in 2020 and 11.4 in 2021); this is approximately 87.5% of the original request.

EI#6 Hurricane Harvey Related: $8.0M included in the supplemental, SB 500.

EI#7 Local Parks: $756,431 (from SGST-Extra BRE).

EI#8 Battleship Texas: $35.5M included in the supplemental, SB 500.

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Note: The cost-out adjustment of $8,084,000 related to the BRE growth for SGST in 2020-21 over 2018-19 levels. The breakout for that amount is as follows:

$4,431,711 EI #1 State Parks ($4,424,907 in B.1.1. SP Ops + $6,804 for minor repair)

$2,895,585 EI#3 Capital Construction (All for D.1.1)

$756,431 EI#7 Local Parks ($644,863 for Local Park Grants and $111,568 for Boating Access and Other Grants)

$8,084,000 TOTAL

Strategy B.2.1., Local Park Grants, includes a total of $36.1M. Of that total amount, $1.0M in GR is to be used for the Judge Charles Rose Sr. Park and $11.0M in GR is to be used for the following specific local park grants in FY 2020:

  • $1.0M for construction and renovation of park facilities in the City of Edcouch (Rep. Oscar Longoria, HD 35/ Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., SD 27)
  • $1.0M for construction and renovation of park facilities in the City of La Feria (Rep. Oscar Longoria, HD 35/ Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., SD 27)
  • $1.0M for development of the Amalie L. “Amy” Koppel Memorial All-Inclusive Playground in the City of Harlingen (Rep. Oscar Longoria, HD 35/ Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., SD 27)
  • $1.0M for construction and renovation of the Keith-Wiess Park in the City of Houston (Rep. Armando Walle, HD 140/ Sen. Carol Alvarado, SD 6)
  • $1.0M for development of the Alma Allen Park in the City of Houston (Rep. Alma Allen, HD 131/ Sen. Borris Miles, SD 13)
  • $1.0M for construction and renovation of Melrose Park in the City of Houston (Rep. Armando Walle, HD 140/ Sen. Carol Alvarado, SD 6)
  • $5.0M for development of the Northside Research, Innovation, Wellness Center, and Multi-Specialty Facility in the City of Pharr (Rep. Sergio Muñoz, HD 36/Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., SD 27)

The following contingency riders are in Article IX:

  • Sec. 18.06. Contingency for HB1300. Appropriates all revenues collected related to oyster mariculture.
  • Sec. 18.34. Contingency for HB1422. Appropriates proceeds from the sale of historical items.
  • Sec. 18.41. Contingency for HB4032 (related to regulation, permitting and taxation of certain boats and motors). Directs CPA and TPWD to implement provisions of the bill out of funds appropriated elsewhere in the act.
  • Sec. 18.58. Contingency for SB1511 (Battleship). Directs existing funds only. SB 500 provides the $35.5M in funding for the repairs to the Battleship.
  • Sec. 18.72. Contingency for SB733 (MLDP). Appropriates $1,349,050/yr for MLDP.
  • Sec. 18.97. Contingency for HB1422 (Transfer of Sites). Reduces TPWD SGST appropriations in B.1.1. by $1,702,000(FY20) and $1,719,000 (FY21) , and Fund 64 in B.1.1. by $275,000/yr. Also reduces FTEs by42.3 /yr. Includes language stating that provisions elsewhere are amended accordingly to reflect the 93%/7% change.
  • Sec. 18.100. LP Grant to Judge Charles Rose Sr. Park in the City of Dallas for the development of park facilities. In addition to amounts already appropriated, provides an additional $1M GR to TPWD in FY20.

THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILL, SB 500, INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING ITEMS FROM THE ECONOMIC STABILIZATION FUND:

  • $35.5M for the Battleship Texas
  • $5.0M for statewide interoperable radios for law enforcement
  • $8.0M for Hurricane Harvey (Brazos Bend SP Levee Repair and Buescher SP Dam Spillway Restoration)
  • $5.0M for the Wyler Tramway

RIDERS

  • Appropriation: Unexpended Balance for GR and GR-D Construction Projects -- Not Adopted
  • Appropriation: License Plate Receipts – Adopted
  • Payments to License Agents, Tax Assessor Collectors, and License Vendor – Adopted
  • Appropriation: Unexpended Balance for Deferred Maintenance for same project categories — Adopted
  • Maximum Appropriation of Sporting Goods Sales Tax Revenue — Adopted
  • Northern Bobwhite Quail Interagency Contract — Rider Deleted
  • Appropriation of Merchandise for Resale Income (up to $200K) — Adopted
  • Payments to State Park Business System (SPBS) Vendor — Not Adopted

GOVERNOR ABBOTT HAS UNTIL JUNE 16TH TO SIGN OR VETO BILLS.

1. Constitutional Dedication of Sporting Goods Sales Tax to TPWD and THC — SB 26/SJR 24 (Kolkhorst/Cyrier): Passed the Senate on 4/10 (30-0). Passed the House as amended on 4/23 (143-1).SB 26 was sent to the Governor on 5/25. SJR 24 will be sent to the Secretary of State on 5/26.

2. HB 1300 (Hunter/Kolkhorst): Oyster Mariculture — Passed the House on 4/9 (146-1). Passed the Senate on 5/10 (31-0). Reported Enrolled on 5/13. Signed by the Governor on 5/24. Effective on 9/1/19.

3. HB 1896 (Phelan/Flores): Requesting TPWD Exemption from HB 1290 (85R) — Passed the House on 4/17 (131-10). Voted out of Senate Business & Commerce on 5/9. Passed the Senate on 5/20.Sent to the Governor on 5/24.

4. SB 733 (Perry/Cyrier): Managed Lands Deer Program Participation Fee — Passed the Senate on 4/9 (31-0). Passed the House on 5/17 (146-0). Sent to the Governor on 5/21.

5. SB 810 (Perry/Cyrier): Identification of Breeder Deer — Passed the Senate on 4/10 (26-4). Passed the House as amended on 5/17 (146-0). Sent to the Governor on 5/25.

6. HB 2321 (Morrison/Hinojosa): Oyster Harvesting Regulations in Closed Areas — Passed the House on 5/2 (133-7). Passed the Senate on 5/15. Sent to the Governor on 5/16.

7. HB 1828 (Martinez/Fallon): Penalty Enhancement on Finfish Sales — Passed the House on 4/12 (123-23). Passed the Senate on 5/10 (31-0). Reported Enrolled on 5/13. Signed by the Governor on 5/14. Effective on 9/1/19.

8. HB 1824 (Murr/Flores): Use of Sand, Shell, & Gravel Proceeds for Aquatic Habitat Restoration — Passed the House on 4/12 (143-0). Voted out of Senate Water & Rural Affairs on 5/10. Passed the Senate as amended on 5/16. (CSSB 2126 added as a floor amendment). Reported Enrolled on 5/25.

9. HB 2065 (Lucio III/Lucio Jr.): Artificial Reef Program Funding — Passed the House on 5/3 (140-0). Passed the Senate as amended on 5/21. (CSHB 1561 added as a floor amendment). House concurred with Senate amendment on 5/23. Reported Enrolled on 5/26.

10. SB 1511 (Nichols/Cyrier): Operation of Battleship Texas — Passed the Senate on 4/11 (31-0). Passed the House as amended on 5/16. (Rep. Cain added an amendment that would require the ship to return to the San Jacinto Battleground SHS after repairs were completed.) Senate refused to concur and went to conference. The Conference Committee Report removed the Cain amendment. CCR adopted on 5/26.

On a personal note thank you for all your support this session and in the past. I will be forever grateful.

Most sincerely,

George