Ken Kramer, 512-626-4204 or 512-477-1729 Cyrus Reed, Contract Lobbyist 740-4086
Sierra Club Concerned about Inadequate Parks Funding in House Bill 1
Confident the final bill passed by
the House and Senate will include important commitments.
(Austin, TX) -- The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club expressed concern today about the inadequate amounts of funding earmarked for the Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department in HB 1, the Appropriations Bill passed out of
Committee yesterday, and vowed to work with representatives to increase the
amount of funding for parks on the House floor and throughout the remainder
of the appropriations process.
"This session 122 state representatives have signed on to HB 6 - a bill to
dedicate all the revenue from the sales tax on sporting goods to fix our
existing parks and acquire new parks.
"The bill produced by the House
Appropriations Committee, however, falls short of the needs of state and
local parks that would be addressed by the passage of HB 6 and full
appropriation of the money anticipated by HB 6," noted Ken Kramer, Sierra
Club state director. "We call on the House members to fully fund the Parks
and Wildlife's legislative request for parks, as would be provided by
appropriation of all HB 6 funds."
According to Kramer, HB 1 only funds $40+ million of the additional $170.9
million requested by TPWD for state and local parks. HB 1 then reduces that
amount by $9.6 million by using the proceeds from the sale of the Eagle
Mountain Lake property in Tarrant County for capital repairs rather than
While Article XI of the bill includes contingency riders
and motions that would increase state park funding by an additional $94.5
million, even if all of the items in Article XI were moved into the final
bill approved, the House would be backtracking on commitments made to
increase funding significantly for state parks.
Of particular concern, says Kramer, is inadequate funding for new parks,
expansion of existing parks, local parks grants and state park operating
Riders in Article XI would increase funding for land acquisition,
including using proceeds from the sale of Eagle Mountain Lake State Park to
buy more parkland and a rider to expand existing parks by $15.7 million in
funds generated by the sporting goods sales tax through HB 6.
a motion by Representative Sylvester Turner would increase local park grants
by $10.2 million per fiscal year.
Getting those riders into the final
budget will be key to assuring sufficient dollars to actually run the parks in a
"We are particularly concerned that the House is once again failing to take
advantage of opportunities to expand our park system through matching local
park grants and expansion of existing parks," Kramer explained.
"But we are
confident the final bill passed by the House and Senate will include these