Sunday, May 27, 2007

Senate Reneging on TX State Park Funding?

I doubt if anyone but me recalls but I first brought up this topic Jan 20 2006

Senate interest may be waning in parks funding

AUSTIN — The lawmaker pushing a major funding increase for state and local parks is worried that Senate leaders are losing their will to rehabilitate Texas' ailing park system.

"I am concerned. ... There is not really a champion in the Senate," House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Chairman Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, said Friday, three days before the legislative session ends.

"I'm championing it here, and I champion it in the Senate, too," Hilderbran said about his efforts to lift the sporting goods tax cap on revenue that flows to state parks. "I'm going over there, bursting into meetings with the lieutenant governor and other people on other bills, saying, 'What in the hell's going on? You promised this.'"

More than 20 of the state's 31 senators originally signed on to legislation to remove the cap, but questions about the funding and a study of the revenue are dividing lawmakers.

"I'm confident that we are going to have an agreement that's going to be good for our park system," said Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, who is the Senate's chief negotiator for House Bill 12.

A special parks advisory committee led by former Sen. John Montford recommended last year that all of the sporting goods tax revenue go to state and local parks as part of a plan to address chronic funding shortages in the state's 114 parks. Some parks are in serious disrepair and some have had to cut operating hours because of staff shortages. more

This particular item is near and dear to me as we do a lot of camping, hiking, and fishing.

The shame is that had my original proposal been put into motion this would have all been taken care of by now.

H/T to B and B