State law currently allows cities to expand their boundaries by annexing outlying areas, though the process fails to account for property owners’ wishes. This form of forced annexation means that cities do not have to get approval from rural residents through a public election and are able to impose new regulations, higher taxes and even large debt obligations on any Texan who lives outside of official city limits.

The solution? 

As our new annexation one-pager outlines, Texas state lawmakers, guided by the recommendations put forth by House and Senate committees, should reform the system to give private property owners a chance to vote on being annexed. By making the process voluntary, lawmakers can let people participate in the democratic process and have a greater say in how and by whom they are governed.

For more information on annexation reform, see the Foundation’s July 2015 report “Ending Forced Annexation in Texas”.