A new Texas bill, which redirects funding, will help breathe life into a number of parks and conservation projects in the Lone Star State.
House Bill 158, sponsored by Republican Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio, will deliver money to the Texas Parks and Wildlife from the sporting goods sales tax. The tax was originally set up in 1993 to fund the TPWD, but officials say the funds were never fully appropriated, with the legislature diverting more than half of the funds to other departments over the last two decades.
The bill looks to right that wrong at last, funneling 94 percent of a project $135 million per year to TPWD. The remaining 6 percent will go to the Texas Historical Commission.
Members of Texas Parks and Wildlife believe the increase in funding will help revitalize parks, including those damaged in recent flooding, and the agency plans to set aside $100 million each year to fix and update buildings. With these outdoor escapes back in shape, officials are hoping to see increased visitation and revenue that will, in turn, revitalize local economies.
HB 158 couldn’t come at a better time. In 2023, the Texas State Parks will celebrate their 100th anniversary. With the new funds in place, it looks like they’ll be ready to welcome their big anniversary in top condition.