MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2018 Regular Session

To: Local and Private; Finance

By: Senator(s) Hudson

Senate Bill 3069

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF THE CITY OF HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI, TO LEVY AN ADDITIONAL TAX ON HOTELS, MOTELS AND RESTAURANTS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PROCEEDS OF THE TAX SHALL BE USED BY THE CITY TO PROMOTE TOURISM AND PARKS AND RECREATION; TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY TO DISTRIBUTE A PORTION OF THE TAX TO THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI TO BE USED BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO ITS ATHLETIC FACILITIES; TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY TO RECEIVE AND EXPEND REVENUES FROM ANY SOURCE FOR THE PURPOSES AUTHORIZED IN THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. As used in this act:

(a) "City" means the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

(b) "Governing authorities" means the governing authorities of the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

(c) "Hotel" or "motel" means a place of lodging that at any one time will accommodate transient guests on a daily or weekly basis, excluding hotels or motels with ten (10) or less overnight rental units.

(d) "Restaurant" means all places where prepared food and beverages are sold for consumption whether such food is consumed on the premises or not. The term "restaurant" does not include any school, hospital, medical clinic, convalescent or nursing home providing food for students, patients, visitors and their families, or any restaurant having annual gross sales of less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00).

SECTION 2. (1) For the purpose of promoting tourism and parks and recreation, the governing authorities are hereby authorized, in their discretion, to levy, assess and collect, in addition to all other taxes now imposed:

(a) A tax upon every person, firm or corporation operating hotels and motels in the city, in an amount not to exceed one percent (1%) of the gross proceeds from overnight room rental, exclusive of charges for food, telephone, laundry, beverages and similar charges.

(b) A tax upon every person, firm or corporation operating a restaurant in the city in an amount not to exceed one percent (1%) of the gross income of the restaurant.

(2) Persons, firms or corporations liable for the levy imposed under subsection (1) of this section shall add the amount of the levy to the sales price of the rooms and products set out in subsection (1) of this section and shall collect, insofar as is practicable, the amount of the tax due by them from the person receiving the services or product at the time of payment therefor.

(3) The tax shall be collected by and paid to the Department of Revenue on a form prescribed by the Department of Revenue in the manner that state sales taxes are computed, collected and paid; and full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Chapter 65, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation and administration of this act.

(4) The proceeds of the tax, less three percent (3%) thereof which shall be retained by the Department of Revenue to defray the cost of collection, shall be paid to the governing authorities on or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which collected.

(5) The proceeds of the tax shall not be considered by the city as general fund revenues but shall be dedicated to and expended solely for the purposes specified in this section; however, fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds derived from the tax collected under this act may be distributed by the governing authorities to The University of Southern Mississippi to be used by the university for improvements to its athletic facilities.

SECTION 3. Before any tax authorized under this act may be imposed, the governing authorities shall adopt a resolution declaring their intention to levy the tax, setting forth the amount of the tax to be imposed, the date upon which the tax shall become effective and calling for an election to be held on the question. The date of the election shall be fixed in the resolution. Notice of such intention and the election shall be published once each week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper published or having a general circulation in the city, with the first publication of the notice to be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the date fixed in the resolution for the election and the last publication to be made not more than seven (7) days before the election. At the election, all qualified electors of the city may vote, and the ballots used in the election shall have printed thereon a brief statement of the amount and purposes of the proposed tax levy and the words "FOR THE TAX" and, on a separate line, "AGAINST THE TAX" and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (X) or check () opposite their choice on the proposition. When the results of the election shall have been canvassed and certified, the city may levy the tax if sixty percent (60%) of the qualified electors who vote in the election vote in favor of the tax. At least thirty (30) days before the effective date of the tax provided in this section, the governing authorities shall furnish to the Department of Revenue a certified copy of the resolution evidencing the tax.

SECTION 4. Accounting for receipts and expenditures of the funds herein described shall be made separately from the accounting of receipts and expenditures of the general fund and any other funds of the city. The records reflecting the receipts and expenditures of the funds prescribed in this act shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, and the accountant shall make a written report of his audit to the governing authorities. The audit shall be made and completed as soon as practicable after the close of the fiscal year, and expenses of the audit shall be paid from the funds derived in accordance with this act.

SECTION 5. The city is authorized to receive and expend revenues from any source for the purposes authorized in this act.

SECTION 6. This act shall be repealed from and after July 1, 2022.

SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.