Prop. #5 Sporting Goods Taxes to Support State Parks

Prop. #5 Sporting Goods Taxes to Support State Parks

Prop. 5 Sporting goods tax to support state parks

Proposition 5 (SJR 24) “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”

Explanation

Proposition 5 would require the Legislature to allocate the money raised from state sales taxes on sporting goods (i.e., hunting, fishing, outdoor equipment) to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Revenue from such taxes would be used to improve and manage state and local parks and historic sites, and to acquire new sites. 

Proposition 5 closes a loophole in the current law that prevents all the revenue raised by these sales taxes from being given to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission, thus allowing some of the money to be used to balance the state budget. 

Arguments For

  • State and local parks are essential to industries such as fishing, hunting, and tourism that benefit Texas economy. Proposition 5 would require the government to support this vital economic sector more fully. It would allow these agencies to make long range plans based on a reliable funding source.
  • Many parks and historic sites of Texas are decaying, and new parks are needed due to population growth in the state. Proposition 5 would provide a sustainable source of funding for their preservation and new park development so they could be enjoyed in the future. 

Arguments Against

  • Having a dedicated account, a fund used for a specific purpose, eliminates budget flexibility for the Texas Legislature.
  • Dedicated accounts can cause unnecessary growth of the state budget by demanding funds in one area even though needs could be greater in another. 

For more information: House Research Organization HJR 39