Article XI, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 2, 1920:

Cities and towns having a population of five thousand or less may be chartered alone by general law. They may levy, assess and collect such taxes as may be authorized by law, but no tax for any purpose shall ever be lawful for any one year which shall exceed one and one-half per cent of the taxable property of such city; and all taxes shall be collectible only in current money, and all licenses and occupation taxes levied, and all fines, forfeitures and penalties accruing to said cities and towns shall be collectible only in current money.

Editor Comments

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "Cities and towns having a population of ten thousand inhabitants or less, may be chartered alone by general law. They may levy, assess and collect an annual tax to defray the current expenses of their local government, but such tax shall never exceed, for any one year, one-fourth of one per cent. and shall be collectable only in current money. And all license and occupation tax levied, and all fines, forfeitures, penalties and other dues accruing to cities and towns shall be collectable only in current money."

In 1909, the section was amended by decreasing the population cap to five thousand.

In 1920, the section was amended by increasing the maximum rate to $1.50 per $100.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, 493 S.W.3d 527, 531 (Tex. 2016) ("Statutory limitations on home-rule municipal authority are ineffective unless they appear with 'unmistakable clarity,' and even when they do, a municipality's ordinance is only 'unenforceable to the extent it conflicts with [a] state statute.' Id. Therefore, home-rule municipalities inherently possess the authority to adopt and enforce building codes, absent an express limitation on this authority. Unlike home-rule municipalities, general-law municipalities, such as the Town, 'are political subdivisions created by the State and, as such, possess [only] those powers and privileges that the State expressly confers upon them.'")

Historic Decisions

  • City of Houston v. Stewart, 87 S.W. 663, 665 (Tex. 1905) ("It is objected that the section of the charter in question is unconstitutional because it authorized the city to receive in payment of taxes certificates of indebtedness, whereas the Constitution forbids that taxes should be paid in anything but money. Article 11, § 4, which . . ., 'shall be collectible only in current money,' applies only to cities of 10,000 population or less. There is no such provision in section 5 of that article which regulates the subject of taxation in cities of more than 10,000 population. The city of Houston contains a population of more than 10,000; therefore the prohibitory clause relied upon does not apply to that city.")

Library Resources

Online Resources