Opinion No. KP-0154

The Honorable John Zerwas, M.D.

Chair, Committee on Appropriations

Texas House of Representatives

Post Office Box 2910

Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Re: Whether an independent school district must hold a tax ratification election pursuant to Tax Code section 26.08 in specific circumstances (RQ-0159-KP)


Subsection 26.08(a) of the Tax Code requires the registered voters of an independent school district to approve an adopted tax rate if the governing body of the district adopts a tax rate that exceeds the district's rollback tax rate. The rollback rate calculation, defined in subsection 26.08(n), includes a maximum maintenance and operations tax rate component and a current debt service tax rate component. The debt service component of the rollback rate does not reflect the debt service tax rate of the preceding year but of the current year. As a result, the rollback tax rate effectively measures only the maintenance and operations component of the tax rate.

An independent school district may not increase a maintenance and operations tax rate above the maximum maintenance and operations tax rate component calculated for purposes of the rollback tax rate without voter approval through a tax ratification election.

Opinion No. KP-0155

The Honorable Donna Campbell, M.D.

Chair, Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security

Texas State Senate

Post Office Box 12068

Austin, Texas 78711-2068

Re: Whether under certain circumstances municipal tree preservation ordinances may violate the Takings Clause of the Texas Constitution (RQ-0164-KP)


If a municipal tree preservation ordinance operates to deny a property owner all economically beneficial or productive use of land, the ordinance will result in a taking that requires just compensation under article I, section 17 of the Texas Constitution.

Furthermore, a court is likely to find a regulatory taking if a municipal tree preservation ordinance, as applied to a specific property, imposes restrictions that unreasonably interfere with landowners' rights to use and enjoy their property. In analyzing whether the interference is unreasonable, the court will consider all relevant circumstances, including: (1) the economic impact of the ordinance; (2) the extent to which the ordinance interferes with distinct investment-backed expectations; and (3) the character of the governmental action.

For further information, please access the website at or call the Opinion Committee at (512) 463-2110.


Amanda Crawford

General Counsel

Office of the Attorney General

Filed: July 19, 2017