EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An environmental advocacy group is encouraging Texas to consider voting “yes” on proposition 5, a state constitutional amendment that would dedicate sales taxes on sporting goods for state parks.
The group “Environment Texas” is visiting 13 different state parks in 7 cities across Texas including El Paso.
“People like myself, my family, when we come to visit the state parks… they’re well maintained and they’re well kept up so we can enjoy it much better,” El Pasoan Eric Hatch said.
For those who enjoy the outdoors like Hatch, a clean state park makes it easier to experience.
On Monday, Hatch listened to state park supporters with Environment Texas spread the word about proposition 5.
“State parks are something that many people treasure. Whether it’s for what they do to preserve Texas’ beautiful diverse ecosystems and landscapes or whether it’s for the family adventures that the state parks allow them to go on,” Emma Pabst, a Fellow with Environment Texas said.
The proposition is a constitutional amendment that would guarantee sales taxes on sporting goods to be dedicated only in funding state and local parks in Texas, as well as historic sites.
That includes the Franklin Mountains State Park here in the sun city.
Environment Texas said state parks already have funding from sales tax on sporting goods however, between 1933 to 2017 only 40% of funds were appropriated for parks.”
The funds would go towards improving the state parks with routine maintenance.
“Over time facilities like bathrooms, visitor centers, road ways, or camping sites… those things wear down. You need to know how much money is coming in each year in order to budget and repair them,” Pabst explained.
Supporters of the proposition also said it could help relieve the parks in case of a natural disaster.
“Any of those sorts of things, parks need money in order to bounce back and make repairs after those events,” Pabst shared, “Prop 5 will make sure they have the money they need to put a little bit into savings each time they get funding so that way they can be prepared for those natural disasters and keep our parks running so people can keep visiting.”
It could also help locals like Hatch have more time savoring the outdoors.
“Also for Texans who go to visit their state parks in their area, they can come out and enjoy it and ensure that it’s maintained not only for them but for their children and generations to come,” Hatch said.
This is the first time proposition 5 will go up for a vote.
Voters can expect to see it on the November 5th ballot.