by Daren Bakst
Senior Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy, Heritage Foundation
Municipalities legally can acquire unincorporated areas next to their borders without the consent of the residents living in those areas. This process, called forced annexation, was supposed to promote sound urban development in areas that need municipal services. Instead, it has created a system in which cities ignore the areas most in need of annexation. Even worse, forced annexation is undemocratic and has contributed to the exclusion of minorities from municipalities. Forced annexation needs to be eliminated immediately, and significant annexation reform needs to be adopted.