Visit The University of Texas homepage
Visit the Tarlton Law Library homepage

Constitution of the State of Texas (1876)

 Previous  Next

ARTICLE VIII.
Taxation and Revenue.

SECTION 1. Taxation shall be equal and uniform. All property in this State, whether owned by natural persons or corporations, other than municipal , shall be taxed in proportion to its value, which shall be ascertained as may be provided by law. The Legislature may impose a poll tax. It may also impose occupation taxes, both upon natural persons and upon corporations, other than municipal, doing any business in this State. It may also tax incomes of both natural persons and corporations, other than municipal, except that persons engaged in mechanical and agricultural pursuits shall never be required to pay an occupation tax; provided, that two hundred and fifty dollars worth of household and kitchen furniture, belonging to each family in this State, shall be exempt from taxation, and provided further that the occupation tax levied by any county, city or town, for any year, on persons or corporations pursuing any profession or business, shall not exceed one-half of the tax levied by the State for the same period on such profession or business.

SEC. 2. All occupation taxes shall be equal and uniform upon the same class of subjects within the limits of the authority levying the tax; but the Legislature may, by general laws, exempt from taxation public property used for public purposes; actual places of religious worship; places of burial not held for private or corporate profit, all buildings used exclusively and owned by persons or associations of persons for school purposes, (and the necessary furniture of all schools,) and institutions of purely public charity; and all laws exempting property from taxation other than the property above mentioned, shall be void.

SEC. 3. Taxes shall be levied and collected by general laws and for public purposes only.

SEC. 4. The power to tax corporations and corporate property shall not be surrendered or suspended by act of the Legislature, by any contract or grant to which the State shall be a party.

SEC. 5. All property of railroad companies, of whatever description, lying or being within the limits of any city or incorporated town within this State, shall bear its proportionate share of municipal taxation, and if any such property shall not have been heretofore rendered, the authorities of said city or town within which it lies, shall have power to require its rendition, and collect the usual municipal tax thereon, as on other property lying within said municipality.

SEC. 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury out in pursuance of specific appropriations made by law; nor shall any appropriation of money be made for a longer term than two years, except by the first Legislature to assembled under this Constitution, which may make the necessary appropriations to carry on the government until the assemblage of the Sixteenth Legislature.

SEC. 7. The Legislature shall not have power to borrow, or in any manner divert from its purpose any special fund that may, or ought to, come into the treasury; and shall make it penal for any person or persons to borrow, withhold, or in any manner to divert from its purpose, any special fund, or any part thereof.

SEC. 8. All property of railroad companies shall be assessed, and the taxes collected in the several counties in which said property is situated, including so much of the roadbed and fixtures as shall be in each county. The rolling stock may be assessed in gross in the county where the principal office of the company is located, and the county tax paid upon it shall be apportioned by the comptroller, in proportion to the distance such road may run through any such county, among the several counties through which the road passes, as a part of their tax assets.

SEC. 9. The State tax on property, exclusive of the tax necessary to pay the public debt, shall never exceed fifty cents on the one hundred dollars valuation, and no county, city or town shall levy more than one-half of said State tax, except for the payment of debts already incurred, and for the erection of public buildings, not to exceed fifty cents on the one hundred dollars in any one year, and except as in this Constitution is otherwise provided.

SEC. 10. The Legislature shall have no power to release the inhabitants of, or property in, any county, city or town, from payment of taxes levied for State or county purposes, unless in case of great public calamity in any such county, city or town, when such release may be made by a vote of two-thirds of each house of the Legislature.

SEC. 11. All property, whether owned by persons or corporations, shall be assessed for taxation, and the taxes paid in the county where situated, but the Legislature may by a two-thirds vote, authorize the payment of taxes of non-residents of counties to be made at the office of the comptroller of public accounts. And all lands and other property not rendered for taxation by the owner thereof shall be assessed at its fair value by the proper officer.

SEC. 12. All property subject to taxation in, and owned by residents of unorganized counties, shall be assessed and the taxes thereon paid in the counties to which such unorganized counties shall be attached for judicial purposes; and lands lying in and owned by non-residents of unorganized counties, and lands lying in the territory not laid off into counties, shall be assessed and the taxes thereon collected at the office of the comptroller of the State.

SEC. 13. Provision shall be made by the first Legislature for the speedy sale of a sufficient portion of all lands and other property for the taxes due thereon, and every year thereafter for the sale of all lands and other property upon which the taxes have not been paid, and the deed of conveyance to the purchaser for all lands and other property thus sold shall be held to vest a good and perfect title in the purchaser thereof, subject to the impeached only for actual fraud; provided, that the former owner shall, within two years from the date of purchaser's deed, have the right to redeem the land upon the payment of double the amount of money paid for the land.

SEC. 14. There shall be elected by the qualified electors of each county, at the same time and under the same law regulating the election of State and county officers, an assessor of taxes, who shall hold his office for two years and until his successor is elected and qualified.

SEC. 15. The annual assessment made upon landed property shall be a special lien thereon, and all property, both real and personal, belonging to any delinquent tax-payer shall be liable to seizure and sale for the payment of all the taxes and penalties due by such delinquent; and such property may be sold for the payment of the taxes and penalties due by such delinquent, under such regulations as the Legislature may provide.

SEC. 16. The sheriff of each county, in addition to his other duties, shall be the collector of taxes therefor. But in counties having ten thousand inhabitants, to be determined by the last preceding census of the United States, a collector of taxes shall be elected to hold office for two years and until his successor shall be elected and qualified.

SEC. 17. The specification of the objects and subjects of taxation shall not deprive the legislature of the power to require other subjects or objects to be taxed in such manner as may be consistent with the principles of taxation fixed in this Constitution.

SEC. 18. The Legislature shall provide for equalizing, as near as may be, the valuation of all property subject to or rendered for taxation, (the County Commissioners' Court to constitute a board of equalization); and may also provide for the classification of all lands with reference to their value in the several counties.