1997 Regular Session
To: Ways and Means
By: Representatives King, Formby
House Bill 576
AN ACT TO PROVIDE AN INCOME TAX CREDIT TO EMPLOYERS, WHO IN PARTICIPATION WITH CERTAIN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, EMPLOY STUDENTS AS PART OF COOPERATIVE OR SCHOOL-TO-WORK EDUCATION PROGRAMS; TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF SUCH CREDIT; TO PROVIDE THAT AN EMPLOYER MUST FILE A CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION WITH THE STATE TAX COMMISSION IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE TAX CREDIT; TO REQUIRE THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING, THE STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGES, THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND THE STATE TAX COMMISSION TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO ADMINISTER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The intent of this section is to provide a financial incentive for employers in Mississippi to participate in a program of cooperative or school-to-work education with the public secondary and post-secondary institutions in Mississippi to provide employment opportunities in this state to benefit both students and employers and create the potential for permanent employment for these students in the Mississippi business community.
(2) As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Certificate of participation" means a document issued by the institution, based upon established standards, to the employer certifying the number of students employed by the employer in a program of cooperative or school-to-work education of the institution during each calendar year.
(b) "Employer" means any individual or legal entity approved by the institution for participation in the institution's program of cooperative or school-to-work education.
(c) "Designated area of study" means and includes any industry specific (i) major field of study at a university, (ii) terminal degree at a community or junior college or (iii) program of education or training at any institution, including secondary institutions. In order for any such field of study, degree or program to qualify for the tax exemption authorized under this section, it must be so designated and approved by the Executive Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
(d) "Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
(e) "Institution" means any public or private institution of higher learning, any community or junior college under the governance of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, and any secondary school (i) accredited by the State Department of Education and which accredition is not suspended or in a probation status and (ii) under the governance of a school board that has adopted a resolution of commitment.
(f) "Program of cooperative or school-to-work education" means the policies and procedures of any institution pursuant to which students are gainfully employed by an employer in a designated area of study pursuant to terms and conditions agreed upon by the institution and the employer, including student performance standards, the purpose of which program is to assist the student in acquiring work-related experience in and a practical application of their academic studies.
(g) "Resolution of commitment" means a resolution adopted by the school board of any school district in which is located an eligible secondary school stating (i) the desire of the district to participate in a program of cooperative or school-to-work education, (ii) the commitment of the district to participate in accordance with the provisions of this act and all rules and regulations promulgated in furtherance thereof and (iii) the commitment of the district to designate eligible students and cooperate with eligible employers.
(h) "School board" means the governing authorities of any public school district established and operating according to law which has adopted a resolution of commitment.
(i) "Student" means any student of the age of sixteen (16) years or older who is approved by the institution for participation in the institution's program of cooperative or school-to-work education.
(j) "Performance standards" means the standards agreed to by the employer and the institution that govern the performance of the student participating in the program of cooperative or school-to-work education.
(3) (a) Any employer that employs one or more students as part of a program of cooperative or school-to-work education of any institution shall be allowed a credit in the current year against the tax imposed by Chapter 7, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, in an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the wages paid each such student by the employer during the current tax year, or Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), whichever is less. If the amount allowable as a credit exceeds such tax, the excess credit may be carried forward for use only in the next succeeding tax year.
(b) To evidence the eligibility of the employer for the credit authorized in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), the employer shall file with the employer's income tax return for the tax year during which the credit was earned or is claimed, a certificate of participation setting forth the number of students employed by the employer in each school semester during the immediately preceding calendar year, the period of time each student was employed, the position or job responsibility of each student with the employer, and the major area of study, terminal degree or program of education or training of each student. Each institution shall forward a certificate of participation to each employer no later than February 15 of each calendar year. The form of the certificate of participation for programs in all institutions shall be devised jointly by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges and the State Department of Education, and shall be approved by the State Tax Commission. The State Tax Commission shall disallow any credit claimed if the certificate of participation does not accompany the income tax return.
(4) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, the State Department of Education, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the State Tax Commission shall cooperate to promulgate rules or regulations required to implement the provisions of this act.
(5) Section 1 of this act shall be codified in Title 27, Chapter 7, Mississippi Code 1972.
SECTION 2. This act shall stand repealed from and after December 31, 2002.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 1998.