Article XI, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 8, 2011:

(a) All counties and cities bordering on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are hereby authorized upon a vote of the majority of the qualified voters voting thereon at an election called for such purpose to levy and collect such tax for construction of sea walls, breakwaters, or sanitary purposes, as may now or may hereafter be authorized by law, and may create a debt for such works and issue bonds in evidence thereof. But no debt for any purpose shall ever be incurred in any manner by any city or county unless provision is made, at the time of creating the same, for levying and collecting a sufficient tax to pay the interest thereon and provide at least two per cent (2%) as a sinking fund, except as provided by Subsection (b); and the condemnation of the right of way for the erection of such works shall be fully provided for.

(b) To increase efficiency and effectiveness to the greatest extent possible, the legislature may by general law authorize cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without meeting the tax and sinking fund requirements under Subsection (a).

Editor Comments

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "All counties and cities bordering on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are hereby authorized, upon a vote of two-thirds of the tax-payers therein (to be ascertained as may be provided by law) to levy and collect such tax for construction of sea walls, breakwaters, or sanitary purposes, as may be authorized by law, and may create a debt for such works and issue bonds in evidence thereof. But no debt for any purpose shall ever be incurred in any manner by any city or county, unless provision is made at the time of creating the same, for levying and collecting a sufficient tax to pay the interest thereon and provide at least two per cent. as a sinking fund; and the condemnation of the right of way for the erection of such works shall be fully provided for."

The section has been amended four times. The most recent amendment added Subsection (b) governing "interlocal" contracts.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

None.

Historic Decisions

  • Brown v. Jefferson County, 406 S.W.2d 185, 188 (Tex. 1966) ("There is language in the opinion of this Court in the Galveston County case which is highly critical of the uncertain and admittedly improvident contract made by Galveston County which sought to saddle the County for almost a millenium [sic] with an uncertain liability which could arise out of the operation of a bridge over which the County had no effective control. The opinion should not, however, be construed as condemning any and all indemnity contracts which a county might enter into in carrying out its legitimate functions. In this case, it appears that under the agreement between . . . . This is a legitimate county function.")
  • Texas & N. O. R. R. Co. v. Galveston County, 169 S.W.2d 713, 715 (Tex. 1943) ("Art. 11, § 7, supra, reads, in part, as follows: 'No debt for any purpose shall ever be incurred in any manner by any city or county unless . . . . Public policy demands that definite limitations be placed on the power of the several political subdivisions of our government to spend public money. As to counties, the limitation is to pay cash, that is, to pay out of current revenues or from funds within the immediate control of the county. Debt, with a provision at the time it is incurred to pay interest and at least two per cent of the principal each year, is the only alternative. If this provision is not made, the 'debt' is a nullity.")
  • Mitchell County v. City Nat'l Bank, 43 S.W. 880, 885 (Tex. 1898) ("If, as claimed by the plaintiff in error, section 7 of article 11 of the constitution applies to all counties and cities in the state (which we assume in this discussion), then every law enacted by the legislature which authorizes the creation of a debt by cities or counties must conform to the requirements of that section, or it will be invalid. In other words, a law which authorized the creation of a debt by a city or county, and did not provide for or authorize the municipal authorities to provide for levying and collecting a tax sufficient to pay the interest on such debt, and create a sinking fund of at least 2 per cent. for its payment, would be void.")

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