Texas HB 158 is sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed. Why is this important for Texas State Park Funding?
SPORTING GOODS SALES TAX ALLOCATION
Since 1993, a portion of the sales tax revenue generated by sporting goods has been statutorily allocated to fund state park operations, capital, and local park grants. Prior to that, state and local parks were each allocated a one penny per pack tax on cigarettes, which probably set the precedent for providing equal allocations to state and local parks. The Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) allocation was introduced because the cigarette tax proved to be a declining revenue source that bore no relationship to the mission of providing state park services.
In the years since passing this funding bill the legislature has capped the amount of funds that can be given to the parks. The “excess” money is used for anything else the legislature wants to use it for during that biennial. If you’ve visited any parks in Texas you will probably question the idea of “excess” funding. The parks are underfunded even though tax payers believe she/he pays a tax on sporting goods that all goes to the parks. In fact only about HALF of that tax revenue makes it to the parks.
How can you help? This legislative session there is a bill that removes the cap on allocating the sporting goods tax revenue to the parks system. Texas HB 158 has passed both the Senate and the House with little objection. Now the parks are waiting for Governor Abbot to sign the bill. The parks are running out of time. If you choose to support this cause I encourage you to write the Goveror a short note showing your support of this bill. You can submit a quick online note at the link below. I’ve also included the mailing address and phone number.
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
State Capitol Bldg.
1100 Congress, Room 2S.1
Austin, TX 78701
Fax: (512) 463-1849