Capitol Update

23 October 2015

Capitol Update: Sales Tax on Sporting Goods

Like you, I am very grateful for the much-needed recent rainfall across our region of the state.  Further west in Austin, folks remain alert waiting for the Speaker of the House to issue the
interim charges, which will direct the various House Committees to study important issues
leading into the next session.  I submitted a number of requests based on feedback from several
constituents about areas we need to be studying changes to current state law, and we should find
out soon which, if any, made the final list.  The interim charges, combined with the constitutional
amendments election, have commanded the bulk of the attention of the people in Austin.  With
that in mind, here is a report from your Texas Capitol…
A Bill and Some Change
Like many of you, I am a big fan of spending time with my family in the outdoors and our state
park system is one of the best ways to do that.  Years ago, the Legislature instituted a sales tax on
sporting goods, the bulk of which was supposed to go to supporting our state parks. However,
during various budget shortfalls, the Legislature diverted that money to other important state
programs and this left many of our parks underfunded and in need of repairs and refurbishing.  In
our backyard, Fort Boggy State Park and Mission Tejas State Park saw the effects of this
diversion.  Fortunately, during the last legislative session earlier this year, the Legislature passed
House Bill 158, which requires that these tax dollars raised from sporting good sales taxes
strictly to be appropriated to Texas Parks and Wildlife to support our state parks.  This bill was a
major win for our state parks, as well as for budget transparency and accountability.   I am proud
to have helped champion it through the House.
Constitutional Amendments: Part 7 of 7
Continuing our seven part series, we will be taking an in-depth look at the seventh and final
proposed constitutional amendment leading up to the constitutional amendments election on
November 3rd, 2015.
Proposition 7 is designed to address our transportation funding woes that the state of Texas has
experienced in recent years.  Both the rural and urban parts of our state have felt the effects of
rapid growth, with approximately 1,000 people moving to Texas per day on average.  Prop 7
dedicates a certain amount of future tax revenue growth to transportation projects.
This results in a system which provides a significant amount of transportation funding, without raising our taxes, registration fees, or tolls. Overall, Prop 7 is projected to bring $4 billion for road construction and maintenance per year. This represents a major step forward for meeting our state’s transportation needs, and I was proud to support this provision in the Hous
Early voting will be from October 19th through October 30th. If you have any questions regarding any of the proposed amendments, or on how to register to vote, please call my office at
(512) 463-0508.  We will be glad to help you navigate the process.
The last mobile office of the month will be in San Augustine on October 28th from 8:30 to 11:00
at the San Augustine County Courthouse.  We hope to see you there!
Please do not hesitate to contact us at (936) 634-2762 or (512) 463-0508 if we can ever be of
assistance, and remember that our door is always open.

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