St. Mary's Law Journal


Municipal annexation is the expansion of city boundaries. The greatest motivator behind municipal annexation is maintaining and improving economic prosperity of the annexing authority. The issue of annexation involves a balance of rights between property owners and municipalities of the state. Historically, Texas cities had broad annexation authority under an involuntary annexation scheme. However, in recent years the power has shifted as lawmakers have given property owners greater control over the annexation process. This trend culminated in the passage of the Municipal Annexation Right to Vote Act (MARVA) by the 85th Texas Legislature, which severely limits annexation authority.

Texas municipalities rely heavily on property taxes as a source of revenue because the State of Texas does not have a state income tax. MARVA is viewed as a victory for private property rights because citizens who live in fringe communities are safeguarded from paying city-imposed property taxes. Fringe communities rely on the infrastructure and essentials built and maintained by municipalities but do not contribute their fair amount of taxes. The effects of MARVA will jeopardize the economic and financial well-being of municipalities, metropolitan regions, and the entire State of Texas. Therefore, this Comment cautions lawmakers from further restricting local annexation authority.

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Katherine Spiser Rios