The Texas House will soon consider a measure that will restore autonomy for homeowners by protecting them from forced annexation by neighboring municipalities.
Currently, Texas is one of only a handful of states that allow forced annexation; the practice whereby cities are allowed to annex unincorporated neighboring communities into their tax base – without their consent. That means homeowners who have consciously chosen to live outside of a municipality’s jurisdiction – be it due to cost of living, taxes, regulations, or other reasons – can be deprived of that autonomy should a nearby city decide it wants their tax revenue.
The worst part? Under the current system, there is zero recourse for a citizen who ends up in a municipality’s sights.
SB 715 would change that by requiring a municipality to gain the approval of the property owners in the area to be annexed – via petition if the population is below 200, and by automatic election in most instances.
It’s a commonsense measure that will protect homeowners from abusive, overreaching governments trying to place the burden of their out-of-control spending habits on homeowners that never had a voice in their policies in the first place.
In that vein, the bill also prohibits outright the practice of limited-purpose annexation – in which citizens are subject to a city’s regulations and taxation, but denied representation on the governing board and the provision of city services.
Additionally, SB 715 also streamlines the process for voluntary annexation by eliminating red tape currently in place –making it easier for homeowners who want to be annexed.
SB 715 has been placed on the general House calendar for floor consideration Sunday, May 21. Considering the commonsense reforms and protections SB 715 contains, this bill will provide a telling vote on who in the Texas House stands with citizens – and who supports city bureaucrats.