AUSTIN, TX — Today the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 26 and Senate Joint Resolution 24, which had previously passed the Senate on April 10. The legislation calls for the constitutional dedication of revenue from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) to fund the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. State Representative John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) had led efforts in the House while Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) was the Senate author.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming support the Texas Legislature has shown for our state and local parks,” said Joseph Fitzsimons, former chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and a founder of the Texas Coalition for State Parks. “Chairman Cyrier has been a determined champion for our parks and today’s vote demonstrates the Legislature’s collective commitment to conserving our state’s natural environment and outdoor heritage for generations to come. Now that the legislation has passed both chambers, we are eager to get this issue in front of Texans who we are confident will support the measure.”
The SGST was designed to create a steady stream of funding for our state and local parks. However, from 1993 to 2017, the state has collected nearly $2.5 billion in revenues from the SGST, yet only 40 percent has been appropriated for parks. The legislation calls for the constitutional dedication of these funds to ensure consistency in funding for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
In 2014, the Texas State Park Advisory Committee recommended that a constitutional amendment permanently guaranteeing revenues generated from the SGST be dedicated to supporting state and local parks. In a public opinion survey, 70 percent of voters would support a constitutional amendment to permanently dedicate sales tax revenue for state parks. These numbers have held steady over a decade of polling.
Texas Coalition for State Parks
The Texas Coalition for State Parks (“TCSP”) is a 501(c)(4) organized with the sole purpose of advocating for a constitutional dedication of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to State Parks funding.
As of April 10, 2019, the following groups had signed on as members of the Coalition:
Access Fund | ANCA Texas | Apache Corporation | Audubon Texas | Austin Parks Foundation | Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Biking Club | Backcountry Hunters & Anglers | Bayou Land Conservancy | Bayou Preservation Association Big Bend Conservation Alliance | Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust | BikeTexas | Braun & Gresham, PLLC | Caddo Lake Institute | Cibolo Nature Center and Farm | Coastal Bend Bays and Estuary Program | Coastal Conservation Association | Comal County Conservation Alliance | Colorado River Land Trust | The Conservation Fund | Dallas Urban Forest | Ducks Unlimited | East Texas Woods & Waters Foundation | El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association
| Environment Texas | Fin & Fur Films | Fort Worth Audubon Society | Friends of Enchanted Rock | Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge | Friends of the Brazos River | Friends of White Rock
Lake | Frontera Land Alliance | Galveston Bay Foundation | Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance | Green Spaces Alliance | Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust | Hill Country Alliance | Hill Country Conservancy | Hill
Country Land Trust | Katy Prairie Conservancy | Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club | National Parks Conservation Association | National Wildlife Federation | Native Plant Society of Texas | The Nature
Conservancy | Northeast Texas Trails Coalition | Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Inc. | Primitive Texas and Louisiana | Rails-to-Trails Conservancy | Safari Club International - Austin Chapter | Safari
Club International - Houston Chapter | Spectrum Trail Racing | Stewards of the Wild | Texans for State Parks | Texas Agricultural Land Trust | Texas Center for Policy Studies | Texas Conservation Alliance |
Texas Deer Association | Texas Food & Fuel Alliance | Texas Foundation for Conservation | Texas Historic Tree Coalition |Texas Land Trust Council | Texas Outdoor Partners | Texas Parks & Wildlife
Foundation | Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) | Texas Municipal League | Texas Rivers Protection Association | Texas Travel Industry Association | Texas Wildlife Association | The Wildlife
Society - Texas Chapter | Travis Audubon Society | Trinity Nature Conservancy | The Trust for Public Land | Wimberley Valley Watershed Association