1997 Regular Session
To: Education; Ways and Means
By: Representative Moak
House Bill 228
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-57-105, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE AUTHORITY OF SCHOOL BOARDS TO REQUEST AN AD VALOREM TAX EFFORT IN DOLLARS WHICH EXCEEDS THE AD VALOREM TAX EFFORT IN DOLLARS OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR WITHOUT A REFERENDUM; TO AMEND SECTION 27-39-207, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE ADVERTISEMENT OF A PROPOSED TAX INCREASE FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT PURPOSES TO INCLUDE LANGUAGE GIVING NOTICE THAT A PETITION REQUESTING A REFERENDUM MAY BE FILED WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-57-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-57-105. (1) In addition to the taxes levied under Section 37-57-1 the levying authority for the school district, as defined in Section 37-57-1, upon receipt of a certified copy of an order adopted by the school board of the school district requesting an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for the support of the school district, shall, at the same time and in the same manner as other ad valorem taxes are levied, levy an annual ad valorem tax in the amount fixed in such order upon all of the taxable property of such school district, which shall not be less than a millage rate necessary to generate funds equal to the "district entitlement" as defined in Section 37-22-1(2)(e) or the millage rate certified by the State Board of Education as the uniform minimum school district ad valorem tax levy, whichever is less, including the amount of millage levied for the support of the minimum education program in such school district under Section 37-57-1. * * * However, * * * any school district levying less than the uniform minimum school district ad valorem tax levy on July 1, 1989, or a millage rate necessary to generate funds equal to the "district entitlement" shall only be required to increase its local district maintenance levy in four (4) mill annual increments in order to attain such millage requirements. In making such levy, the levying authority shall levy an additional amount sufficient to cover anticipated delinquencies and costs of collection so that the net amount of money to be produced by such levy shall be equal to the amount which is requested by said school board. The proceeds of such tax levy, excluding levies for the payment of the principal of and interest on school bonds or notes and excluding levies for costs of collection, shall be placed in the school depository to the credit of the school district and shall be expended in the manner provided by law for the purpose of supplementing teachers' salaries, extending school terms, purchasing furniture, supplies and materials, and for all other lawful operating and incidental expenses of such school district, funds for which are not provided by minimum program fund allotments.
The monies authorized to be received by school districts from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund pursuant to Section 37-57-35 shall be included as ad valorem tax receipts. The levying authority for the school district, as defined in Section 37-57-1, shall reduce the ad valorem tax levy for such school district in an amount equal to the amount distributed to such school district from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund each calendar year pursuant to said Section 37-61-35. Such reduction shall not be less than the millage rate necessary to generate a reduction in ad valorem tax receipts equal to the funds distributed to such school district from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund pursuant to Section 37-61-35. Such reduction shall not be deemed to be a reduction in the aggregate amount of support from ad valorem taxation for purposes of Section 37-19-11. The millage levy certified by the State Board of Education as the uniform minimum ad valorem tax levy or the millage levy that would generate funds in an amount equal to a school district's district entitlement, as defined in Section 37-22-1(2)(e), shall be subject to the provisions of this paragraph.
In any county where there is located a nuclear generating power plant on which a tax is assessed under Section 27-35-309(3), such required levy and revenue produced thereby may be reduced by the levying authority in an amount in proportion to a reduction in the base revenue of any such county from the previous year. Such reduction shall be allowed only if the reduction in base revenue equals or exceeds five percent (5%). "Base revenue" shall mean the revenue received by the county from the ad valorem tax levy plus the revenue received by the county from the tax assessed under Section 27-35-309(3) and authorized to be used for any purposes for which a county is authorized by law to levy an ad valorem tax. For purposes of determining if the reduction equals or exceeds five percent (5%), a levy of millage equal to the prior year's millage shall be hypothetically applied to the current year's ad valorem tax base to determine the amount of revenue to be generated from the ad valorem tax levy. For the purposes of this section and Section 37-57-107, the portion of the base revenue used for the support of any school district shall be deemed to be the aggregate receipts from ad valorem taxes for the support of any school district. This paragraph shall apply to taxes levied for the 1987 fiscal year and for each fiscal year thereafter. If the Mississippi Supreme Court or another court finally adjudicates that the tax levied under Section 27-35-309(3) is unconstitutional, then this paragraph shall stand repealed.
(2) When the tax is levied upon the territory of any school district located in two (2) or more counties, the order of the school board requesting the levying of such tax shall be certified to the levying authority of each of the counties involved, and each of the levying authorities shall levy the tax in the manner specified herein. The taxes so levied shall be collected by the tax collector of the levying authority involved and remitted by the tax collector to the school depository of the home county to the credit of the school district involved as provided above, except that taxes for collection fees may be retained by the levying authority for deposit into its general fund.
(3) The aggregate receipts from ad valorem taxes levied for school district purposes, excluding collection fees, pursuant to this section and Section 37-57-1 and excluding amounts received by school districts from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund pursuant to Section 37-61-35 shall be subject to the increased limitation under Section 37-57-107; however, if the ad valorem tax effort in dollars requested by the school district for the fiscal year exceeds the next preceding fiscal year's ad valorem tax effort in dollars, * * * then the school board shall publish notice thereof in the manner prescribed under Section 27-39-207. * * * If at any time before the adoption of an order requesting an increase a petition signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) or fifteen hundred (1500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the school district involved shall be filed with the school board requesting that an election be called on the question of exceeding the next preceding fiscal year's ad valorem tax effort in dollars, * * * then the school board shall, not later than the next regular meeting, adopt a resolution calling an election to be held within such school district upon such question. The election shall be called and held, and notice thereof shall be given, in the same manner for elections upon the questions of the issuance of the bonds of school districts, and the results thereof shall be certified to the school board. The ballot shall contain the language "For the School Tax Increase" * * * and "Against the School Tax Increase." * * * If a majority of the qualified electors of the school district who voted in such election shall vote in favor of the question, then the stated increase requested by the school board shall be approved. For the purposes of this paragraph, the revenue sources excluded from the increased limitation under Section 37-57-107 shall also be excluded from the limitation described herein in the same manner as they are excluded under Section 37-57-107.
SECTION 2. Section 27-39-207, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-39-207. (1) No school district may budget an increase in an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for support of the school district unless it advertises its intention to do so at the same time that it advertises its intention to fix its budget for the forthcoming fiscal year.
(2) No request for an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for the support of the school district in excess of the certified tax rate pursuant to Sections 37-57-105 and 37-57-107 may be made until an order has been approved by the school board of the school district in accordance with the following procedure:
(a) The school board of the school district shall advertise its intent to exceed the certified tax rate in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. The advertisement shall be no less than one-fourth (1/4) page in size and the type used shall be no smaller than eighteen (18) point and surrounded by a one-fourth-inch solid black border. The advertisement may not be placed in that portion of the newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements appear. It is the intent of the Legislature that the advertisement appear in a newspaper that is published at least five (5) days a week, unless the only newspaper in the county is published less than five (5) days a week. It is further the intent of the Legislature that the newspaper selected be one of general interest and readership in the community, and not one of limited subject matter. The advertisement shall be run once each week for the two (2) weeks preceding the adoption of the final budget. The advertisement shall state that the school board of the school district will meet on a certain day, time and place fixed in the advertisement, which shall be not less than seven (7) days after the day the first advertisement is published, for the purpose of hearing comments regarding any proposed increase and to explain the reasons for the proposed increase. The meeting on the proposed increase may coincide with the hearing on the proposed budget of the school board of the school district.
(b) The form and content of the notice shall be as follows:
"NOTICE OF TAX INCREASE
The (name of the school district) has proposed to increase the part of its total budget that is attributed to an increase in ad valorem tax by (percentage of increase) percent and/or its total budget by (percentage of increase) percent by certified copy of an order to be adopted by the school board of the school district to the taxing entity which is the levying authority for the school district as defined in Section 37-57-1 requesting an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for the support of the school district. The proposal of the school district is to increase its ad valorem tax effort by (estimate of dollars) and/or by (estimate increase of millage rate) and to increase its budget by (estimate of dollars) and by (estimate increase of millage rate).
All concerned citizens are invited to attend a public hearing on the tax increase to be held on (date and time) at (meeting place).
At any time before the adoption of an order requesting an increase, a petition signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) or fifteen hundred (1500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors may be filed with the school board requesting an election on the proposed tax increase.
A final decision on the proposed tax increase, subject to the results of the election, if any, will be made on (date and time) in a public hearing to be held at (meeting place)."
(3) Subject to the results of an election, if requested, held in the manner prescribed in Section 37-57-105, the school board of the school district, after the hearing has been held in accordance with the above procedures, may adopt an order requesting the levying of an ad valorem tax effort in dollars in excess of the certified tax rate.
(4) All hearings shall be open to the public. The school board of the school district shall permit all interested parties desiring to be heard an opportunity to present oral testimony within reasonable time limits.
(5) Each school board of a school district shall notify the taxing entity of the date, time and place of its public hearing. No school board of a school district may schedule its hearing at the same time as another overlapping school district in the same county.
SECTION 3. Nothing in this act shall affect or defeat any claim, assessment, appeal, suit, right or cause of action for taxes due or accrued under the ad valorem tax laws before the date on which this act becomes effective, whether such claims, assessments, appeals, suits or actions have been begun before the date on which this act becomes effective or are begun thereafter; and the provisions of the ad valorem tax laws are expressly continued in full force, effect and operation for the purpose of the assessment, collection and enrollment of liens for any taxes due or accrued and the execution of any warrant under such laws before the date on which this act becomes effective, and for the imposition of any penalties, forfeitures or claims for failure to comply with such laws.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1996.