On May 21, 2019 Sen. Kolkhorst signed off on final changes to Senate Bill 26 and Senate Joint Resolution 24 paving the way for the people of Texas to vote on a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing funds from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax will be dedicated to funding the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
The constitutional dedication of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax is one step closer to reality upon clearing a final legislative step. State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) signed the motion to concur with House changes to Senate Bill 26 and Senate Joint Resolution 24, which was the last action needed to move the legislation forward. The Joint Resolution will now be sent to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office for placement on the November ballot, and SB26, the enabling legislation, will be sent to Governor Abbott’s desk for signature.
“Because of the Legislature’s hard work and dedication to this important issue, Texans will now have the opportunity to affirm their support of our state and local parks at the polls this November,” said Joseph Fitzsimons, former chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and a founder of the Texas Coalition for State Parks. “We could not have asked for better champions than Senator Lois Kolkhorst and Representative Jon Cyrier. Future generations of Texans will have them and the entire Texas Legislature to thank for this historic effort. We must now prepare to vigorously support the passage of the constitutional amendment, which will be on the November 2019 ballot.”
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 constitutional dedication of these funds will ensure consistency in funding for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
In 2014, the Texas State Park Advisory Committee that a constitutional amendment permanently guaranteeing revenues generated from the SGST be dedicated to supporting state and local parks. In a public opinion , 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.
The Coalition includes the following groups:
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