2000 Regular Session
To: Wildlife and Fisheries; Finance
By: Senator(s) Posey, Burton, Dearing, Frazier, Horhn, Lee, Harden, Jordan, Jackson, Furniss, Mettetal, Simmons, White (5th), Tollison, Dawkins, Carmichael, Scoper, King, Chaney, Hewes, Hyde-Smith
Senate Bill 3087
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI SCENIC STREAMS INCENTIVES PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE LANDOWNERS TO ENHANCE AND RESTORE WILDLIFE AND FISH HABITATS ALONG SCENIC STREAMS BY GRANTING TAXPAYERS AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR CERTAIN COSTS THEY INCUR ON APPROVED HABITAT ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION PROJECTS; TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF THE CREDIT THAT CAN BE USED BY A TAXPAYER IN A TAXABLE YEAR; TO PROVIDE THAT EXCESS CREDITS MAY BE CARRIED FORWARD FOR SUCCEEDING YEARS; TO PRESCRIBE THE MANNER OF APPLYING FOR SUCH CREDIT; TO AMEND SECTION 51-4-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE MISSISSIPPI SCENIC STREAMS STEWARDSHIP ACT TO THE "DICK LIVINGSTON SCENIC STREAMS STEWARDSHIP ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the "Mississippi Scenic Streams Incentives Program."
SECTION 2. The Legislature finds that fish and wildlife resources and habitats along scenic streams have significant benefit to Mississippi's environment, economy and overall quality of life and that the majority of lands along scenic streams are held by private owners. The Legislature finds that the State of Mississippi should encourage private landowners along scenic streams to enhance and restore upland and wetland wildlife habitat and fisheries habitat through tax credit incentives.
SECTION 3. (1) Subject to the limitations provided in subsection (2) of this section, upon submission to the State Tax Commission of the written verification provided for in subsection (4) of this section and such other documentation as the State Tax Commission may require, any landowner, who enters into a binding agreement under the Mississippi Scenic Streams Stewardship Act and who incurs costs for approved wildlife or fisheries habitat projects on lands in the scenic stream plan shall be allowed a credit, in an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the actual costs of the approved project, against the taxes imposed pursuant to this chapter for the tax year in which the costs are incurred.
(2) The credit provided for in this section shall not exceed the lesser of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or the amount of income tax imposed upon the eligible owner for the taxable year reduced by the sum of all other credits allowable to the eligible landowner under this chapter, except credit for tax payments made by or on behalf of the landowner. Any unused portion of the credit may be carried forward for succeeding tax years. The maximum dollar amount of the credit provided for in this section that a landowner may utilize during his lifetime shall be Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) in the aggregate.
(3) If a landowner receives any state or federal cost share assistance funds to defray the cost of an approved wildlife or fisheries habitat project, the cost of that practice within the same tax year is not eligible for the credit provided in this section unless the landowner's adjusted gross income is less than the federal earned income credit level.
(4) A landowner shall have a wildlife or fisheries habitat project examined by a wildlife or fisheries biologist with at least a bachelor's degree from a college or university or by a wildlife or fisheries biologist of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The biologist must verify in writing that the wildlife or fisheries habitat project was completed and give his written opinion as to whether the project conforms to the scenic streams stewardship plan for that stream. Emphasis shall be placed on low maintenance and self-sustaining projects. If the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks finds that the project was completed and that the project conforms to the scenic streams stewardship plan for that stream, the landowner shall be eligible for the tax credit.
SECTION 4. Section 3 of this act shall be codified in Chapter 7, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 5. 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 income 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 income 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 6. Section 51-4-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
51-4-1. This chapter may be cited as the "Dick Livingston Scenic Streams Stewardship Act." All references in this chapter to "Mississippi Scenic Streams Stewardship Act" shall mean the Dick Livingston Scenic Streams Stewardship Act.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2000.