You will have the opportunity to vote for ten Propositions for Texas on November 5th. GEAA is delighted to endorse three of these measures:
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.”
In 1993 Texas authorized a percentage of the taxes collected on sporting goods to go towards a fund to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Since then, the legislature has only appropriated a fraction of that fund to TPWD. Approval of Proposition 5 will mandate that the State of Texas devote 100% of the sporting goods tax funds to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to be used for capital improvements and maintenance for parks and historical landmarks, and to purchase land for new parks and trails. Proposition 5 will not increase the amount of sporting goods taxes – it will just ensure that these taxes are to be spent as originally intended.
Proposition 8 (HJR 4)
“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”
Proposition 8 will authorize a flood infrastructure fund (created by Senate Bill 7) to be managed by the Texas Water Development to spend $1.7 billion from the rainy day fund to be used for planning, seeking permits for, or constructing flood-related projects. If approved by voters, the flood infrastructure fund would be created at the start of next year.
GEAA staff and our water allies have been working hard to insure that the funding will be administered equitably and used wisely. (See GEAA’s comments here.) Thanks to concerted efforts, green infrastructure and opportunities to purchase land and conservation easements to mitigate flooding are eligible for funding under Proposition 8. Additionally, as proponents of water conservation, we supported provisions to require that applications for funding include an analysis of whether the proposed flood project could use floodwater capture techniques for water supply purposes, including floodwater harvesting, detention or retention basins, aquifer storage and recovery, or other methods of capturing storm flow or unappropriated flood flow.
Comprehensive planning for flood control projects that considers entire watersheds and contiguous impacted watersheds is long overdue. Passage of Proposition 8 presents enormous opportunities to protect Texans from flooding with cost effective and ecologically sustainable projects.
Proposition 2 (SJR 79)
“The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.” JR 79 would let the Texas Water Development Board sell bonds, the proceeds of which would be used to encourage building water supply and wastewater facilities in economically distressed cities.
GEAA has worked with a number of small and rural communities in efforts to upgrade their water and sewage infrastructure. As of 2019, counties eligible to receive this financial assistance are those (a) with a per capita income that averaged 25 percent below the state average for the most recent three consecutive years and an unemployment rate that averaged 25 percent above the state average for the most recent three consecutive years; (b) located adjacent to an international border; or (c) located within 100 miles of an international border and contain a municipality with a population of more than 250,000.
We urge you to vote for Propositions 2, 5, and 8. And, please spread the word!
To see all propositions on the November 5th ballot click here. Early voting starts October 21st.