Budget Cuts May Force State Parks to Close
Here we go again. The legislative session is coming in January, and we’re hearing the usual predictions of budgetary doom and gloom. This year we are hearing that if the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department doesn’t get the money it needs, nearly two dozen state parks may have to close.
KUT Public Radio News in Austin reports Texas state parks funding is so tight the agency is having problems repairing wildfire damage at Bastrop State Park, and other parks all over the state are falling apart from a lack of maintenance.
In the proposed budget they sent to the legislative budget board last month, TPWD officials say if they can’t get the money they need for maintenance, they may have to close 20 state parks and lay off more than 100 people .
There is a source of money that’s dedicated by state law to maintaining state parks. The state sales tax on sporting goods raises around $100 million dollars a year, but the legislature continually uses most of that revenue to balance the state budget, while our state parks are falling apart and closing.
Stay tuned. You probably won’t notice the impact of this until the day you drive out to your favorite state park and find the gates closed and locked.