MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2014 Regular Session

To: Ways and Means

By: Representatives Smith (39th), Byrd

House Bill 785

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 57-73-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR ANY COMPANY THAT TRANSFERS OR RELOCATES ITS NATIONAL OR REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI FROM OUTSIDE THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; TO PROVIDE FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE CREDIT; TO PROVIDE THAT A MINIMUM OF TWENTY JOBS MUST BE CREATED BY THE RELOCATION IN ORDER FOR A COMPANY TO QUALIFY FOR THE CREDIT AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MAXIMUM CUMULATIVE AMOUNT OF TAX CREDITS THAT MAY BE CLAIMED BY ALL TAXPAYERS CLAIMING A CREDIT UNDER THIS ACT IN ANY ONE STATE FISCAL YEAR SHALL NOT EXCEED $1,000,000.00, EXCLUSIVE OF CREDITS THAT MIGHT BE CARRIED FORWARD FROM PREVIOUS TAXABLE YEARS; TO PROVIDE THAT A TAX CREDIT CLAIMED UNDER THIS ACT BUT NOT USED IN A TAXABLE YEAR MAY BE CARRIED FORWARD FOR FIVE YEARS FROM THE CLOSE OF THE TAX YEAR IN WHICH THE RELOCATION COSTS WERE PAID; TO AMEND SECTIONS 57-87-3, 57-87-5, 57-87-7 AND 27-111-1, 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 57-73-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

[In cases involving business enterprises that received or applied for the job tax credit authorized by this section prior to January 1, 2005, this section shall read as follows:]

57-73-21. (1) Annually by December 31, using the most current data available from the University Research Center, Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the United States Department of Commerce, the State Tax Commission shall rank and designate the state's counties as provided in this section. The twenty-eight (28) counties in this state having a combination of the highest unemployment rate and lowest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier Three areas. The twenty-seven (27) counties in the state with a combination of the next highest unemployment rate and next lowest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier Two areas. The twenty-seven (27) counties in the state with a combination of the lowest unemployment rate and the highest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier One areas. Counties designated by the Tax Commission qualify for the appropriate tax credit for jobs as provided in subsections (2), (3) and (4) of this section. The designation by the Tax Commission is effective for the tax years of permanent business enterprises which begin after the date of designation. For companies which plan an expansion in their labor forces, the Tax Commission shall prescribe certification procedures to ensure that the companies can claim credits in future years without regard to whether or not a particular county is removed from the list of Tier Three or Tier Two areas.

(2) Permanent business enterprises primarily engaged in manufacturing, processing, warehousing, distribution, wholesaling and research and development, or permanent business enterprises designated by rule and regulation of the Mississippi Development Authority as air transportation and maintenance facilities, final destination or resort hotels having a minimum of one hundred fifty (150) guest rooms, recreational facilities that impact tourism, movie industry studios, telecommunications enterprises, data or information processing enterprises or computer software development enterprises or any technology intensive facility or enterprise, in counties designated by the Tax Commission as Tier Three areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) annually for each net new full-time employee job for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the job; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Chairman of the State Tax Commission may extend this time period for not more two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to the Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent businesses that increase employment by ten (10) or more in a Tier Three area are eligible for the credit. Credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below ten (10). The Tax Commission shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of ten (10).

(3) Permanent business enterprises primarily engaged in manufacturing, processing, warehousing, distribution, wholesaling and research and development, or permanent business enterprises designated by rule and regulation of the Mississippi Development Authority as air transportation and maintenance facilities, final destination or resort hotels having a minimum of one hundred fifty (150) guest rooms, recreational facilities that impact tourism, movie industry studios, telecommunications enterprises, data or information processing enterprises or computer software development enterprises or any technology intensive facility or enterprise, in counties that have been designated by the Tax Commission as Tier Two areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) annually for each net new full-time employee job for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the job; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Chairman of the State Tax Commission may extend this time period for not more two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent businesses that increase employment by fifteen (15) or more in Tier Two areas are eligible for the credit. The credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below fifteen (15). The Tax Commission shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of fifteen (15).

(4) Permanent business enterprises primarily engaged in manufacturing, processing, warehousing, distribution, wholesaling and research and development, or permanent business enterprises designated by rule and regulation of the Mississippi Development Authority as air transportation and maintenance facilities, final destination or resort hotels having a minimum of one hundred fifty (150) guest rooms, recreational facilities that impact tourism, movie industry studios, telecommunications enterprises, data or information processing enterprises or computer software development enterprises or any technology intensive facility or enterprise, in counties designated by the Tax Commission as Tier One areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) annually for each net new full-time employee job for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the job; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Chairman of the State Tax Commission may extend this time period for not more two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent businesses that increase employment by twenty (20) or more in Tier One areas are eligible for the credit. The credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below twenty (20). The Tax Commission shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of twenty (20).

(5) In addition to the credits authorized in subsections (2), (3) and (4), an additional Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) credit for each net new full-time employee or an additional One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the average annual wage of the state or an additional Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least two hundred percent (200%) of the average annual wage of the state, shall be allowed for any company establishing or transferring its national or regional headquarters from within or outside the State of Mississippi. A minimum of thirty-five (35) jobs must be created to qualify for the additional credit. The State Tax Commission shall establish criteria and prescribe procedures to determine if a company qualifies as a national or regional headquarters for purposes of receiving the credit awarded in this subsection. As used in this subsection, the average annual wage of the state is the most recently published average annual wage as determined by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

(6) In addition to the credits authorized in subsections (2), (3), (4) and (5), any job requiring research and development skills (chemist, engineer, etc.) shall qualify for an additional One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee.

(7) In lieu of the tax credits provided in subsections (2) through (6), any commercial or industrial property owner which remediates contaminated property in accordance with Sections 49-35-1 through 49-35-25, is allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to the amounts provided in subsection (2), (3) or (4) for each net new full-time employee job for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the job. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. This subsection shall be administered in the same manner as subsections (2), (3) and (4), except the landowner shall not be required to increase employment by the levels provided in subsections (2), (3) and (4) to be eligible for the tax credit.

(8) Tax credits for five (5) years for the taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 shall be awarded for additional net new full-time jobs created by business enterprises qualified under subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) of this section. Except as otherwise provided, the Tax Commission shall adjust the credit allowed in the event of employment fluctuations during the additional five (5) years of credit.

(9) (a) The sale, merger, acquisition, reorganization, bankruptcy or relocation from one (1) county to another county within the state of any business enterprise may not create new eligibility in any succeeding business entity, but any unused job tax credit may be transferred and continued by any transferee of the business enterprise. The Tax Commission shall determine whether or not qualifying net increases or decreases have occurred or proper transfers of credit have been made and may require reports, promulgate regulations, and hold hearings as needed for substantiation and qualification.

(b) This subsection shall not apply in cases in which a business enterprise has ceased operation, laid off all its employees and is subsequently acquired by another unrelated business entity that continues operation of the enterprise in the same or a similar type of business. In such a case the succeeding business entity shall be eligible for the credit authorized by this section unless the cessation of operation of the business enterprise was for the purpose of obtaining new eligibility for the credit.

(10) Any tax credit claimed under this section but not used in any taxable year may be carried forward for five (5) years from the close of the tax year in which the qualified jobs were established but the credit established by this section taken in any one (1) tax year must be limited to an amount not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the taxpayer's state income tax liability which is attributable to income derived from operations in the state for that year. If the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the business enterprise is unable to use the existing carryforward, the Chairman of the State Tax Commission may extend the period that the credit may be carried forward for a period of time not to exceed two (2) years.

(11) No business enterprise for the transportation, handling, storage, processing or disposal of hazardous waste is eligible to receive the tax credits provided in this section.

(12) The credits allowed under this section shall not be used by any business enterprise or corporation other than the business enterprise actually qualifying for the credits.

(13) The tax credits provided for in this section shall be in addition to any tax credits described in Sections 57-51-13(b), 57-53-1(1)(a) and 57-54-9(b) and granted pursuant to official action by the Mississippi Development Authority prior to July 1, 1989, to any business enterprise determined prior to July 1, 1989, by the Mississippi Development Authority to be a qualified business as defined in Section 57-51-5(f) or Section 57-54-5(d) or a qualified company as described in Section 57-53-1, as the case may be; however, from and after July 1, 1989, tax credits shall be allowed only under either this section or Sections 57-51-13(b), 57-53-1(1)(a) and Section 57-54-9(b) for each net new full-time employee.

(14) As used in this section, the term "telecommunications enterprises" means entities engaged in the creation, display, management, storage, processing, transmission or distribution for compensation of images, text, voice, video or data by wire or by wireless means, or entities engaged in the construction, design, development, manufacture, maintenance or distribution for compensation of devices, products, software or structures used in the above activities. Companies organized to do business as commercial broadcast radio stations, television stations or news organizations primarily serving in-state markets shall not be included within the definition of the term "telecommunications enterprises."

[In cases involving business enterprises that apply for the job tax credit authorized by this section from and after January 1, 2005, this section shall read as follows:]

57-73-21. (1) Annually by December 31, using the most current data available from the University Research Center, Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the United States Department of Commerce, the Department of Revenue shall rank and designate the state's counties as provided in this section. The twenty-eight (28) counties in this state having a combination of the highest unemployment rate and lowest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier Three areas. The twenty-seven (27) counties in the state with a combination of the next highest unemployment rate and next lowest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier Two areas. The twenty-seven (27) counties in the state with a combination of the lowest unemployment rate and the highest per capita income for the most recent thirty-six-month period, with equal weight being given to each category, are designated Tier One areas. Counties designated by the Department of Revenue qualify for the appropriate tax credit for jobs as provided in this section. The designation by the Department of Revenue is effective for the tax years of permanent business enterprises which begin after the date of designation. For companies which plan an expansion in their labor forces, the Department of Revenue shall prescribe certification procedures to ensure that the companies can claim credits in future years without regard to whether or not a particular county is removed from the list of Tier Three or Tier Two areas.

(2) Permanent business enterprises in counties designated by the Department of Revenue as Tier Three areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to ten percent (10%) of the payroll of the enterprise for net new full-time employee jobs for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the minimum number of jobs required by this subsection; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Commissioner of Revenue may extend this time period for not more than two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to the Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent business enterprises that increase employment by ten (10) or more in a Tier Three area are eligible for the credit. Credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below ten (10). The Department of Revenue shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of ten (10).

(3) Permanent business enterprises in counties that have been designated by the Department of Revenue as Tier Two areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to five percent (5%) of the payroll of the enterprise for net new full-time employee jobs for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the minimum number of jobs required by this subsection; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Commissioner of Revenue may extend this time period for not more than two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent business enterprises that increase employment by fifteen (15) or more in Tier Two areas are eligible for the credit. The credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below fifteen (15). The Department of Revenue shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of fifteen (15).

(4) Permanent business enterprises in counties designated by the Department of Revenue as Tier One areas are allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to two and one-half percent (2.5%) of the payroll of the enterprise for net new full-time employee jobs for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the minimum number of jobs required by this subsection; however, if the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the permanent business enterprise is unable to maintain the required number of jobs, the Commissioner of Revenue may extend this time period for not more than two (2) years. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. Only those permanent business enterprises that increase employment by twenty (20) or more in Tier One areas are eligible for the credit. The credit is not allowed during any of the five (5) years if the net employment increase falls below twenty (20). The Department of Revenue shall adjust the credit allowed each year for the net new employment fluctuations above the minimum level of twenty (20).

(5) (a) In addition to the other credits authorized in this section, an additional Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) credit for each net new full-time employee or an additional One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the average annual wage of the state or an additional Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least two hundred percent (200%) of the average annual wage of the state, shall be allowed for any company establishing or transferring its national or regional headquarters from within or outside the State of Mississippi. A minimum of twenty (20) jobs must be created to qualify for the additional credit. The Department of Revenue shall establish criteria and prescribe procedures to determine if a company qualifies as a national or regional headquarters for purposes of receiving the credit awarded in this paragraph (a). As used in this paragraph (a), the average annual wage of the state is the most recently published average annual wage as determined by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

(b) In addition to the other credits authorized in this section, an additional Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) credit for each net new full-time employee or an additional One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the average annual wage of the state or an additional Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee who is paid a salary, excluding benefits which are not subject to Mississippi income taxation, of at least two hundred percent (200%) of the average annual wage of the state, shall be allowed for any company expanding or making additions after January 1, 2013, to its national or regional headquarters within the State of Mississippi. A minimum of twenty (20) new jobs must be created to qualify for the additional credit. The Department of Revenue shall establish criteria and prescribe procedures to determine if a company qualifies as a national or regional headquarters for purposes of receiving the credit awarded in this paragraph (b). As used in this paragraph (b), the average annual wage of the state is the most recently published average annual wage as determined by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

(6) In addition to the other credits authorized in this section, any job requiring research and development skills (chemist, engineer, etc.) shall qualify for an additional One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) credit for each net new full-time employee.

(7) (a) In addition to the other credits authorized in this section, any company that transfers or relocates its national or regional headquarters to the State of Mississippi from outside the State of Mississippi may receive a tax credit in an amount equal to the actual relocation costs paid by the company. A minimum of twenty (20) jobs must be created in order to qualify for the additional credit authorized under this subsection. Relocation costs for which a credit may be awarded shall be determined by the Department of Revenue and shall include those nondepreciable expenses that are necessary to relocate headquarters employees to the national or regional headquarters, including, but not limited to, costs such as travel expenses for employees and members of their households to and from Mississippi in search of homes and moving expenses to relocate furnishings, household goods and personal property of the employees and members of their households.

(b) The tax credit authorized under this subsection shall be applied for the taxable year in which the relocation costs are paid. The maximum cumulative amount of tax credits that may be claimed by all taxpayers claiming a credit under this subsection in any one (1) state fiscal year shall not exceed One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), exclusive of credits that might be carried forward from previous taxable years. A company may not receive a credit for the relocation of an employee more than one (1) time in a twelve-month period for that employee.

(c) The Department of Revenue shall establish criteria and prescribe procedures to determine if a company creates the required number of jobs and qualifies as a national or regional headquarters for purposes of receiving the credit awarded in this subsection. A company desiring to claim a credit under this subsection must submit an application for such credit with the Department of Revenue in a manner prescribed by the department.

(d) In order to participate in the provisions of this section, a company must certify to the Mississippi Department of Revenue that it complies with the equal pay provisions of the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the fair pay provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

(e) This subsection shall stand repealed on July 1, 2019.

( * * *78) In lieu of the other tax credits provided in this section, any commercial or industrial property owner which remediates contaminated property in accordance with Sections 49-35-1 through 49-35-25, is allowed a job tax credit for taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 equal to the percentage of payroll provided in subsection (2), (3) or (4) of this section for net new full-time employee jobs for five (5) years beginning with years two (2) through six (6) after the creation of the jobs. The number of new full-time jobs must be determined by comparing the monthly average number of full-time employees subject to Mississippi income tax withholding for the taxable year with the corresponding period of the prior taxable year. This subsection shall be administered in the same manner as subsections (2), (3) and (4), except the landowner shall not be required to increase employment by the levels provided in subsections (2), (3) and (4) to be eligible for the tax credit.

( * * *89) (a) Tax credits for five (5) years for the taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 shall be awarded for increases in the annual payroll for net new full-time jobs created by business enterprises qualified under this section. The Department of Revenue shall adjust the credit allowed in the event of payroll fluctuations during the additional five (5) years of credit.

(b) Tax credits for five (5) years for the taxes imposed by Section 27-7-5 shall be awarded for additional net new full-time jobs created by business enterprises qualified under subsections (5) and (6) of this section and for additional relocation costs paid by companies qualified under subsection (7) of this section. The Department of Revenue shall adjust the credit allowed in the event of employment fluctuations during the additional five (5) years of credit.

( * * *910) (a) The sale, merger, acquisition, reorganization, bankruptcy or relocation from one (1) county to another county within the state of any business enterprise may not create new eligibility in any succeeding business entity, but any unused job tax credit may be transferred and continued by any transferee of the business enterprise. The Department of Revenue shall determine whether or not qualifying net increases or decreases have occurred or proper transfers of credit have been made and may require reports, promulgate regulations, and hold hearings as needed for substantiation and qualification.

(b) This subsection shall not apply in cases in which a business enterprise has ceased operation, laid off all its employees and is subsequently acquired by another unrelated business entity that continues operation of the enterprise in the same or a similar type of business. In such a case the succeeding business entity shall be eligible for the credit authorized by this section unless the cessation of operation of the business enterprise was for the purpose of obtaining new eligibility for the credit.

( * * *1011) Any tax credit claimed under this section but not used in any taxable year may be carried forward for five (5) years from the close of the tax year in which the qualified jobs were established and/or headquarters relocation costs paid, as applicable, but the credit established by this section taken in any one (1) tax year must be limited to an amount not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the taxpayer's state income tax liability which is attributable to income derived from operations in the state for that year. If the permanent business enterprise is located in an area that has been declared by the Governor to be a disaster area and as a direct result of the disaster the business enterprise is unable to use the existing carryforward, the Commissioner of Revenue may extend the period that the credit may be carried forward for a period of time not to exceed two (2) years.

( * * *1112) No business enterprise for the transportation, handling, storage, processing or disposal of hazardous waste is eligible to receive the tax credits provided in this section.

( * * *1213) The credits allowed under this section shall not be used by any business enterprise or corporation other than the business enterprise actually qualifying for the credits.

( * * *1314) As used in this section:

(a) "Business enterprises" means entities primarily engaged in:

(i) Manufacturing, processing, warehousing, distribution, wholesaling and research and development, or

(ii) Permanent business enterprises designated by rule and regulation of the Mississippi Development Authority as air transportation and maintenance facilities, final destination or resort hotels having a minimum of one hundred fifty (150) guest rooms, recreational facilities that impact tourism, movie industry studios, telecommunications enterprises, data or information processing enterprises or computer software development enterprises or any technology intensive facility or enterprise.

(b) "Telecommunications enterprises" means entities engaged in the creation, display, management, storage, processing, transmission or distribution for compensation of images, text, voice, video or data by wire or by wireless means, or entities engaged in the construction, design, development, manufacture, maintenance or distribution for compensation of devices, products, software or structures used in the above activities. Companies organized to do business as commercial broadcast radio stations, television stations or news organizations primarily serving in-state markets shall not be included within the definition of the term "telecommunications enterprises."

( * * *1415) The tax credits provided for in this section shall be in addition to any tax credits described in Sections 57-51-13(b), 57-53-1(1)(a) and 57-54-9(b) and granted pursuant to official action by the Mississippi Development Authority prior to July 1, 1989, to any business enterprise determined prior to July 1, 1989, by the Mississippi Development Authority to be a qualified business as defined in Section 57-51-5(f) or Section 57-54-5(d) or a qualified company as described in Section 57-53-1, as the case may be; however, from and after July 1, 1989, tax credits shall be allowed only under either this section or Sections 57-51-13(b), 57-53-1(1)(a) and Section 57-54-9(b) for each net new full-time employee.

( * * *1516) A business enterprise that chooses to receive job training assistance pursuant to Section 57-1-451 shall not be eligible for the tax credits provided for in this section.

SECTION 2. Section 57-87-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

57-87-3. (1) The Legislature finds that the long-standing telecommunications policy of this state has been to ensure that all citizens have access to telephone service. The increasing reliance upon access to computer information services for jobs, housing and other necessities requires that this concept be broadened to include high-speed access to the Internet as well.

(2) The Legislature further finds that the ability of the citizens in all parts of this state to access the Internet, also known as the information superhighway, is an important component in the ability of the state to remain competitive in the fields of business and education, as well as the ability of government to provide services to these people both now and in the future. The ability of the citizens of Mississippi to access the full potential of the Internet is predicated on having the most advanced telecommunications infrastructure the backbone to the information superhighway.

(3) The Legislature further finds and declares that it is the policy of the state to provide incentives for "telecommunications enterprises" (as defined in Section 57-73-21 ( * * *1314)) to invest in the infrastructure needed to provide broadband technology throughout the state to keep this state competitive and to promote economic development within the state.

(4) The Legislature further finds that despite the significant growth of computer ownership and usage, the growth has occurred to a greater extent within developed areas within this state, thereby leading to what has been termed a "digital divide" between Tier One areas within the state and areas within this state that are Tier Two and Tier Three areas (as such areas are designated in accordance with Section 57-73-21(1)).

(5) The Legislature further finds that it is in the public interest for people living in Tier Two areas and people living in Tier Three areas of the state to have high-speed access to the Internet and to adequate technology, infrastructure and advanced telecommunications service.

(6) The Legislature further finds and declares that additional incentives are warranted to encourage telecommunications enterprises to invest in the infrastructure needed to provide broadband technology in Tier Two and Tier Three areas of the state.

SECTION 3. Section 57-87-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

57-87-5. (1) For purposes of this section:

(a) "Telecommunications enterprises" shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in Section 57-73-21( * * *1314);

(b) "Tier One areas" mean counties designated as Tier One areas pursuant to Section 57-73-21(1);

(c) "Tier Two areas" mean counties designated as Tier Two areas pursuant to Section 57-73-21(1);

(d) "Tier Three areas" mean counties designated as Tier Three areas pursuant to Section 57-73-21(1); and

(e) "Equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies" means any equipment capable of being used for or in connection with the transmission of information at a rate, prior to taking into account the effects of any signal degradation, that is not less than three hundred eighty-four (384) kilobits per second in at least one (1) direction, including, but not limited to, asynchronous transfer mode switches, digital subscriber line access multiplexers, routers, servers, multiplexers, fiber optics and related equipment.

(2) With respect to the investment in each year by a telecommunications enterprise after June 30, 2003, and before July 1, 2020, there shall be allowed annually as a credit against the aggregate tax imposed by Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, an amount equal to:

(a) Five percent (5%) of the cost of equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies in Tier One areas;

(b) Ten percent (10%) of the cost of equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies in Tier Two areas; and

(c) Fifteen percent (15%) of the cost of equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies in Tier Three areas.

(3) Such annual credits shall be allowed commencing with the taxable year in which such property is placed in service and continue for nine (9) consecutive years thereafter. The aggregate credit established by this section taken in any one (1)

tax year shall be limited to an amount not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the taxpayer's tax liabilities under Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972; however, any tax credit claimed under this section, but not used in any taxable year, may be carried forward for ten (10) consecutive years from the close of the tax year in which the credits were earned.

(4) The maximum aggregate amount of credits that may be claimed under this section shall not exceed the original investment made by a telecommunications enterprise in the qualifying equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies.

(5) For purposes of this section, the tier in which broadband technology is deployed shall be determined in the year in which such technology is deployed in a county and such tier shall not change if the county is later designated in another tier.

SECTION 4. Section 57-87-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

57-87-7. Equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies by a telecommunications enterprise (as defined in Section 57-73-21( * * *1314)), that is placed in service after June 30, 2003, and before July 1, 2020, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation for a period of ten (10) years after the date such equipment is placed in service. For purposes of this section, "equipment used in the deployment of broadband technologies" means any equipment capable of being used for or in connection with the transmission of information at a rate, prior to taking into account the effects of any signal degradation, that is not less than three hundred eighty-four (384) kilobits per second in at least one direction, including, but not limited to, asynchronous transfer mode switches, digital subscriber line access multiplexers, routers, servers, multiplexers, fiber optics and related equipment.

SECTION 5. Section 27-111-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-111-1. (1) The Governor shall be authorized to issue to a telecommunications enterprise that has contracted with the state to provide broadband telecommunications service to institutions of higher learning, a payment credit voucher in lieu of an equal amount of cash payment pursuant to the terms of the contract for services. The payment credit voucher shall entitle the telecommunications enterprise to a credit against the aggregate tax liabilities imposed on such telecommunications enterprise by Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, in an amount that is equal to such payment credit voucher.

(2) The tax credits in lieu of payment shall only be issued if agreed to by the telecommunications enterprise and authorized by the Governor with a signed payment credit voucher.

(3) The total amount of tax credits authorized under this section in any fiscal year shall not exceed Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) in the aggregate.

(4) The excess, if any, of the credit allowed by this section over the aggregate tax liabilities imposed against the telecommunications enterprise by Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, may be utilized against the aggregate tax liabilities imposed by Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, on any related member with respect to the telecommunications enterprise. For purposes of this subsection, the term "related member" shall have the meaning given to such term by Section 27-7-17(2)(a)(iv). If the provider or any related member is unable to utilize the full amount of the credit voucher, then the remaining amount shall constitute an overpayment of the tax imposed by Chapter 7 of Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, and shall be refunded to the service provider as provided in Section 27-7-51. Any such overpayment shall be paid by the commissioner not later than ninety (90) days after the filing of the applicable tax return by the service provider. Interest on the overpayment shall be computed under the provisions of Section 27-7-315.

(5) The tax credits authorized by this section shall be used to assist the state in managing its cash flows, shall apply in addition to, and after the application of, all other credits applicable to the service provider and shall not be used in determining any cap placed on any other tax credits applicable to the telecommunications enterprise.

(6) For purposes of this subsection, the term "telecommunications enterprises" shall have the meaning given to such term by Section 57-73-21( * * *1314)(b).

(7) This section shall be repealed from and after July 1, 2018.

SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2014.