This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The legislature cannot, while leaving a municipality in existence, deprive it of the power to levy taxes sufficient to pay its pre-existing debts if such power was possessed when such debts were incurred.1 A change of name or of boundaries cannot justify the legislature in depriving a municipality of the power to lay taxes so as to pay its pre-existing debts,2 nor does the attempt to destroy the municipality and to substitute therefor another, covering substantially the same territory.3 So if the new municipality is liable for the debts of its predecessor, a statute providing that it shall be liable only if the tax-paying voters shall vote to assume such liability is invalid.4 A statute which reduces the area of a municipality but leaves the municipality able to pay all pre-existing debts does not impair the obligation of contracts.5 However, the legislature may destroy a municipal corporation and thus make it impossible to enforce its obligations.6
13 Barnes v. Kornegay, 62 Fed. 671; Commonwealth v. Ry., 95 Ky. 60; 23 S. W. 868; Commonwealth v. Ry., 164 Pa. St. 252; 30 Atl. 145.
14 St. Vincent's College v. Schae-fer, 104 Mo. 261; 16 S. W. 395.
15 Bank of Commerce v. Tennessee, 161 U. S. 134; modified on rehearing so as to uphold the tax on stock issued as increased stock after the tax law took effect, 163 U. S. 416; Mobile & Ohio R. R. v. Tennessee, 153 U. S. 486.
16 New Orleans v. Telegraph Co., 40 La. Ann. 41: 8 Am. St. Rep. 502; S So. 533; New York v. Ry., 32 N. Y. 261.
17 Orr v. Gilman. 183 U. S. 278 (citing Carpenter v. Pennsylvania, 17 How. (U. S.) 456).
1 Wolff v. City of New Orleans, 10s U. S. 358; Ralls County Court v. United States, 105 U. S. 733; Louisiana v. Police Jury, 111 U. S.
716; Mobile v. Watson, 116 U. S. 289; Seibert v. Lewis, 122 U. S. 284; Fisk v. Police Jury, 116 U. S. 131; Von Hoffman v. City of Quiney,
4 Wall. (U. S.) 535; (City of) Galena v. Amy, 5 Wall. (U. S.) 705; Butz v. City of Muscatine,
8 Wall. (U. S.) 575; Padgett v. Post, 106 Fed. 600; 45 C. C. A. 488; Hicks v. Cleveland, 106 Fed. 459; 45 C. C. A. 429; In re Copen-haver, 54 Fed. 660; United States v. Knox County, 51 Fed. 880; Hammond v. Place, 116 Mich. 628; 72 Am. St. Rep. 543; 74 N. W. 1002; Broadfoot v. Fayetteville, 124 N. C. 478; 70 Am. St. Rep. 610: 32 S. E. 804; Memphis v. Bethel (Tenn.), 17 S. W. 191; Townsend. etc., Co. v. Hill, 24 Wash. 469; 64 Pac. 77*: Eidenmiller v. Tacoma, 14 Wash. 376: 44 Pac. 877.
2 Bates v. Gregory, 89 Cal. 387; 26 Pac. 891.