Annexation Animus All Over Again - Texas Scorecard

A critical bill that would considerably strengthen Texans’ property rights will soon be up for a vote in the Texas House – but if history is any indicator, the liberal governing structure in the lower chamber is already prepared to kill it.

Municipal annexation isn’t generally a hot topic for discussion – that is, until one ends up in the sights of a local government hungry for additional tax revenue. Currently, municipalities can annex homeowners without their consent – and with little recourse to any homeowner in opposition.

This practice forces homeowners – many of whom deliberately chose to live outside of city limits – to pay higher taxes for debt they didn’t accrue, abide by regulations they had no say in creating, and subjects them to the will of a council they never elected.

Proponents of annexation claim that the homeowners in question gain access to city services in return – but that’s not always the case, and in an overwhelming majority of instances, it’s not even close to commensurate with the increase in taxes.

In San Antonio, for example, that city’s annexation policy has been so aggressive that the police and fire unions actually opposed the plan on the grounds they wouldn’t be able to cover the area adequately; so much so that their radios can’t even reach some of the new jurisdictions.

That’s because the entire concept of annexation is predicated on the belief that taxpayers are a commodity to be exploited – not a beneficiary.

The problems with forced annexation are obvious enough that this indefensible practice (which, ironically, is defended by tax-funded lobbyists every session) has been appropriately targeted as a reform item by Gov. Abbott for this special session. SB 6 by Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) addresses the practice of municipal annexation in a simple, yet elegant fashion: allowing homeowners to vote on annexation.

What a novel concept! It makes such perfect sense… and yet has been killed by the liberal coalition that governs the Texas House time and time again. 

In 2015, a similar annexation bill (HB 2221) was filed and considered. It was later killed on the House floor when one of Straus’ committee chairs, Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) filed a point of order on the bill and was sustained. Reform measures were killed again during this year’s regular session by a last minute filibuster by democrat Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio).

Fast forward to this week: on Monday, another one of Straus’ committee chairs, Democrat Joe Moody from El Paso, called a point of order on SB 6 which was sustained, and forced it back to committee.

It’s coming back up for a vote in the House as soon as tomorrow (Friday), and unless representatives are held accountable, it will be killed again. Interested parties who want to see this important reform passed need to call and urge Straus not to allow his Democrat chairmen to kill this bill again.