2007 Regular Session
To: Education; Ways and Means
By: Representative Denny
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-57-104, 37-57-105 AND 37-57-107, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE AUTHORITY OF SCHOOL BOARDS TO INCREASE AD VALOREM TAXES LEVIED FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT PURPOSES, REGARDLESS OF THE MILLAGE RATE, ABSENT APPROVAL IN A REFERENDUM ON THE PROPOSED TAX INCREASE; TO AMEND SECTION 27-39-207, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-57-104, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-57-104. (1) Each school board shall submit to the levying authority for the school district a certified copy of an order adopted by the school board requesting an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for the support of the school district. The copy of the order shall be submitted by the school board when the copies of the school district's budget are filed with the levying authority pursuant to Section 37-61-9. Upon receipt of the school board's order requesting the ad valorem tax effort in dollars, the levying authority shall determine the millage rate necessary to generate funds equal to the dollar amount requested by the school board. * * * If the millage rate necessary to generate funds equal to the dollar amount requested by the school board is greater than * * * the millage then being levied pursuant to the school board's order requesting the ad valorem tax effort for the currently existing fiscal year, then the school board shall call a referendum on the question of exceeding, during the next fiscal year, the then existing millage rate being levied for school district purposes in accordance with Section 37-57-107. * * *
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(2) If the levying authority for any school district lawfully has decreased the millage levied for school district purposes, but subsequently determines that there is a need to increase the millage rate due to a disaster in which the Governor has declared a disaster emergency or the President of the United States has declared an emergency or major disaster, then the levying authority may increase the millage levied for school district purposes up to an amount that does not exceed the millage rate in any one (1) of the immediately preceding ten (10) fiscal years without any referendum that otherwise would be required under this section or Section 37-57-107.
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(3) The aggregate receipts from ad valorem taxes levied for school district purposes pursuant to Sections 37-57-1 and 37-57-105, excluding collection fees, additional revenue from the ad valorem tax on any newly constructed properties or any existing properties added to the tax rolls or any properties previously exempt which were not assessed in the next preceding year, and amounts received by school districts from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund pursuant to Section 37-61-35, shall be subject to the increase limitation under this section and Section 37-57-107.
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(4) This section shall not be construed to affect in any manner the authority of school boards to levy millage for the following purposes:
(a) The issuance of bonds, notes and certificates of indebtedness, as authorized in Sections 37-59-1 through 37-59-45 and Sections 37-59-101 through 37-59-115;
(b) The lease of property for school purposes, as authorized under the Emergency School Leasing Authority Act of 1986 (Sections 37-7-351 through 37-7-359);
(c) The lease or lease-purchase of school buildings, as authorized under Section 37-7-301;
(d) The issuance of promissory notes in the event of a shortfall of ad valorem taxes and/or revenue from local sources, as authorized under Section 27-39-333; and
(e) The construction of school buildings outside the school district, as authorized under Section 37-7-401.
Any millage levied for the purposes specified in this subsection shall be excluded from the increase limitation established under this section.
SECTION 2. 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, subject to the increase limitation prescribed in Section 37-57-107, upon all of the taxable property of such school district, which shall not be less than the millage rate certified by the State Board of Education as the uniform minimum school district ad valorem tax levy for the support of the adequate 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, 1997, 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 the 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 adequate education program fund allotments.
The monies authorized to be received by school districts from the School Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund pursuant to Section 37-61-35 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 * * * Section 37-61-35. * * *
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.
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SECTION 3. Section 37-57-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-57-107. (1) Except as otherwise authorized pursuant to an election held under subsection (2) of this section, beginning with the tax levy for the 2008 fiscal year * * *, the aggregate receipts from taxes levied for school district purposes, excluding collection fees, pursuant to Sections 37-57-105 and 37-57-1 shall not exceed the aggregate receipts from those sources during * * * the immediately preceding * * * fiscal year * * *. For the purpose of this limitation, the term "aggregate receipts," when used in connection with the amount of funds generated in a preceding fiscal year, shall not include excess receipts required by law to be deposited into a special account. The additional revenue from the ad valorem tax on any newly constructed properties or any existing properties added to the tax rolls or any properties previously exempt which were not assessed in the next preceding year may be excluded from the * * * limitation set forth herein. Taxes levied for payment of principal of and interest on general obligation school bonds issued heretofore or hereafter shall be excluded from the * * * limitation set forth herein. Any additional millage levied to fund any new program mandated by the Legislature shall be excluded from the limitation for the first year of the levy and included within such limitation in any year thereafter. For the purposes of this section, the term "new program" shall include, but shall not be limited to: (a) * * * any additional millage levied and the revenue generated therefrom, which is excluded from the limitation for the first year of the levy, to support the * * * Early Childhood Education Program, which shall be specified on the minutes of the school board and of the governing body making such tax levy; (b) any additional millage levied and the revenue generated therefrom, which shall be excluded from the limitation for the first year of the levy, for the purpose of generating additional local contribution funds required for the adequate education program for the 2003 fiscal year and for each fiscal year thereafter under Section 37-151-7(2); and (c) any additional millage levied and the revenue generated therefrom, which shall be excluded from the limitation for the first year of the levy, for the purpose of support and maintenance of any agricultural high school which has been transferred to the control, operation and maintenance of the school board by the board of trustees of the community college district under * * * Section 37-29-272.
(2) If a school board has determined the need for additional revenues or if the millage rate necessary to generate funds equal to the dollar amount requested by a school board is greater than the millage then being levied for the current fiscal year, the school board may adopt an order requesting that the levying authority, as defined in Section 37-57-1, call and hold an election on the question of exceeding the limitation prescribed in this section. However, before the order requesting the election is adopted, the school board shall advertise its intention to do so and shall hold a public meeting on the proposed increase in accordance with Section 27-39-207. The order, notice and manner of holding the election shall be as prescribed by law for the holding of elections for the issuance of bonds by the * * * school boards. The ballot shall contain the language "For the School Tax Increase" and "Against the School Tax Increase" and shall state the specific amount of the proposed tax increase. The results of the election shall be certified to the school board. If three-fifths (3/5) or more of the qualified electors voting in the election vote in favor of the question, then the stated increase requested by the school board shall be approved. Revenues collected for the fiscal year in excess of the * * * limitation pursuant to an election shall be included in the tax base for the purpose of determining aggregate receipts for which the * * * limitation applies for subsequent fiscal years.
(3) Except as otherwise provided for excess revenues generated pursuant to an election, if revenues collected as the result of the taxes levied for the fiscal year pursuant to this section and Section 37-57-1 exceed the * * * limitation, then it shall be the mandatory duty of the school board of the school district to deposit such excess receipts over and above the * * * limitation into a special account and credit it to the fund for which the levy was made. It will be the further duty of such board to hold the excess funds and invest the same as authorized by law. Such excess funds shall be calculated in the budgets for the school districts for the purpose for which such levies were made, for the succeeding fiscal year. Taxes imposed for the succeeding year shall be reduced by the amount of excess funds available. Under no circumstances shall such excess funds be expended during the fiscal year in which such excess funds are collected.
(4) For the purposes of determining ad valorem tax receipts for a preceding fiscal year under this section, the term "fiscal year" means the fiscal year beginning October 1 and ending September 30.
(5) The school board shall pay to the levying authority all costs that are incurred by the levying authority in the calling and holding of any election under this section.
SECTION 4. Section 27-39-207, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-39-207. (1) Unless the increased revenue in a budget is derived solely from the expansion of a school district's ad valorem tax base, a school district shall not budget an increase in an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for support of the school district unless it first advertises its intention to request an election on the increase at the same time that it advertises its intention to fix its budget for the next fiscal year.
(2) A request for an election on an ad valorem tax effort in dollars for the support of the school district in excess of the certified tax rate pursuant to Sections 37-57-104, 37-57-105 and 37-57-107 shall not 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 request an election on exceeding 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 (1/4") solid black border. The advertisement shall not be placed in any portion of the newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements appear. The advertisement shall 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. The newspaper selected shall be one of general interest, readership and circulation in all areas of the community. The advertisement shall be published once each week for the two-week period preceding the adoption of the final budget. The advertisement shall provide that the school board of the school district will meet on a certain day, date, time and place fixed in the advertisement, which shall be no less than seven (7) days after the day the first advertisement is published. The meeting on the proposed increase may coincide with the hearing on the proposed budget of the school board of the school district.
(b) When the advertisement is required, it shall be in the following form:
"NOTICE OF TAX INCREASE - (Name of the school district)
The (name of the school district) will hold a public hearing on its proposed school district budget for fiscal year (insert the year) on (date and time) at (meeting place). At this meeting, a proposed ad valorem tax effort increase will be considered.
The (name of the school district) is now operating with projected total budget revenue of $_________. (____ percent) or $_________, of such revenue is obtained through ad valorem taxes. For next fiscal year, the proposed budget has total projected revenue of $_________. Of that amount, (____ percent) or $_______, is proposed to be financed through a total ad valorem tax levy.
For the next fiscal year, the (name of the school district) plans to increase your ad valorem tax millage rate by _____ mills from _____ mills to _____ mills. (This portion of the notice shall not be required if the school district does not propose an increase in the ad valorem tax millage rate.)
This increase in ad valorem tax revenue means that you will pay more in ad valorem taxes on your home, automobile tag, utilities, business fixtures and equipment and rental real property.
Any citizen of (name of the school district) is invited to attend this public hearing on the proposed ad valorem tax increase, and will be allowed to speak for a reasonable amount of time and offer tangible evidence before any vote is taken."
(3) The school board of the school district, after the hearing has been held in accordance with the above procedures, may adopt an order requesting an election on the levying of an ad valorem tax effort in dollars in excess of the certified tax rate. If such order is not adopted on the day of the public hearing, the scheduled date, time and place for consideration and adoption of the order shall be announced at the public hearing.
(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 and offer tangible evidence.
(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 5. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.