There are ten propositions on the ballot this November. The Sierra Club endorses 3 of the 10 props.
Early voting begins: Oct. 21
Early voting ends: Nov. 1
Vote by mail info: sc.org/TXvotebymail
Proposition 2 allows the Texas Water Development Board to issue general obligation bonds for the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP). The bonds would be used to develop water supply and sewer projects in economically depressed areas.
Why Sierra Club supports the amendment
All citizens deserve clean water and basic wastewater treatment service, regardless of their income. Socioeconomic factors should not determine access to safe water. It’s a basic right. Not only has the EDAP program been beneficial to the many residents, it has had positive environmental implications as untreated wastewater flowing into our rivers and streams is bad for public health and the environment. However, today the EDAP program is out of funding.
Proposition 5 requires the legislature to use the Sporting Goods Sales Tax for what it was originally intended. This is not a new tax, but the revenue from this sales tax has not always gone to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) as it should have been. This revenue would help TPWD improve and manage state and local parks and historic sites, and to acquire new sites. Our state legislature has been able to dedicate these revenues in recent years, but it hasn't always been the case. In some sessions, much of this revenue was used to balance the budget. Prop 5 closes a loophole in the current law that prevents all the revenue raised by these sales taxes from being given to TPWD and the THC.
Why Sierra Club supports Proposition 5
Our state and local parks have been underfunded for decades, even though they provide essential areas for recreation, hiking, birding, hunting, fishing and tourism and are a benefit the Texas economy, particularly in rural areas. Both the parks and wildlife areas have been vital to protect endangered and threatened species and maintain important habitats. And yet the Texas Legislature has often failed to provide the needed revenues so TPWD and THC can meet their mandates. Ensuring the funding through Prop 5 would support these vital resources and allow the departments to plan and fund expansion when new areas become available for acquisition.
Proposition 8 creates the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) as a special fund account outside of general revenue. The money (which is a one-time infusion from the “Rainy Day” fund) would be used for flood control planning, and to establish and maintain flood control structures and drainage infrastructure throughout the state. Both “structural” and “non-structural” nature-based flood control projects would be eligible for funding.
Why the Sierra Club supports Proposition 8
Climate change is a reality, and Texas must be prepared, from droughts to severe flooding. Hurricane Harvey made it apparent how unprepared Texas is, and how frequently we rebuild only to see the same buildings flooded again. If passed, any funds resulting from Prop 8 would require approval from the Texas Water Development Board and cooperation among all impacted parties. A local government would receive money from the FIF only if it worked with other governments in the region and listened to stakeholder concerns in public meetings. The State is also required to work with local government to create a State Flood Plan that would help determine the feasibility of projects proposed by local governments.