Millions going to Texas State Parks due to passage of funding bill

Imagine your favorite state park getting revamped

SAN ANTONIO – If you're visiting one of more than 90 Texas State Parks this holiday weekend, you may see the beginning stages of planning now that parks are expecting millions more in funding dollars next year. 

House Bill 158 was sponsored by State Rep. Lyle Larson, Dist. 122.

When it goes into effect Sept. 1, it is going to bring accountability back to the budget by allocating 94 percent of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to parks, as intended.

In year's past, much of the money from the tax went to the state's general fund.

"We've got a funding source but we never had the discipline to use it for the parks," Larson said.

Larson visited Garner State Park with KSAT 12. Staffers showed incomplete projects and temporary fixes due to lack of funding in the past. The park is expecting half a million visitors this year.

"We have restroom facilities that need to be completely demolished and rebuilt," Garner State Park Superintendent Steve Killian said.

That's where people like, Play It Again Sports Co-owner Karen Harrison comes in. She feels good knowing the majority of the sales tax generated from her store goes to parks.

"I know that state parks are underfunded. We took a vacation to east Texas a couple years ago and a lot of them were close during the week because they didn't have the money to keep them open," Harrison said.

"It makes sense that people buying this type of stuff would be using those facilities," Play It Again Sports customer Katie Brown said.

Every time you buy a wide variety of sporting goods, you help fund a portion of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax that goes to parks.

This current fiscal year, more than 90 state parks shared $53 million collected from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax. That amount is expected to more than double next year.

The following is a full list of equipment and apparel from Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Archery
  • Baseball/softball equipment and shoes
  • Basketball
  • Bicycles and supplies
  • Billiards/indoor games
  • Bowling equipment and shoes
  • Camping
  • Canoes and kayaks
  • Cycling shoes
  • Exercise equipment
  • Fishing tackle
  • Football equipment
  • Football shoes
  • Golf equipment and shoes
  • Helmets
  • Hiking boots
  • Hockey equipment and ice skates
  • Hunting and firearms equipment
  • Hunting apparel
  • Hunting boots
  • Lacrosse
  • Optics
  • Racquetball equipment
  • Ski apparel
  • Skin diving and scuba gear
  • Snow skiing equipment
  • Soccer
  • Soccer shoes
  • Tennis equipment
  • Track shoes
  • Volleyball and badminton
  • Water skis
  • Wheel sports

Items can be bought anywhere and the tax will go towards state parks.