Bill Text: MS SB2155 | 2022 | Regular Session | Enrolled


Bill Title: City of Laurel; authorize tax on hotels and motels to promote tourism.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Passed) 2022-04-01 - Approved by Governor [SB2155 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2022-SB2155-Enrolled.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2022 Regular Session

To: Local and Private; Finance

By: Senator(s) Barnett

Senate Bill 2155

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF THE CITY OF LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI, TO LEVY A TAX IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THREE PERCENT UPON THE GROSS PROCEEDS OF SALES OF HOTELS AND MOTELS DERIVED FROM ROOM RENTALS FOR THE PURPOSE OF GENERATING REVENUE TO PROMOTE TOURISM; TO REQUIRE THAT AN ELECTION BE HELD ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE TAX MAY BE LEVIED; TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY TO PERFORM CERTAIN OTHER ACTIONS AS NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY TO DISCONTINUE THE TAX BY RESOLUTION, PROVIDED THERE IS NO INDEBTEDNESS OR OBLIGATION OUTSTANDING UNDER THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

     SECTION 1.  As used in this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context:

          (a)  "Authority" means the Economic Development Authority of Jones County created under Chapter 4, Laws of the First Extraordinary Session of 1983, as amended.

          (b)  "City" means the City of Laurel, Mississippi.

          (c)  "Governing authorities" means the mayor and city council of the city.

          (d)  "Hotel" or "motel" means any establishment engaged in the business of furnishing or providing rooms intended or designed for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes to transient guests on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and located within the limits of the city.  "Hotel" or "motel" includes Airbnb, Vacation Rentals By Owner and similar establishments, but does not include hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

          (e)  "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, trust or unincorporated organization and a government or agency or political subdivision thereof.

          (f)  "Tax" means the tax authorized by Section 2 of this act.

     SECTION 2.  (1)  For the purpose of providing funds to promote tourism in the city, including, but not limited to, staffing, leasing, purchasing, building, constructing, improving and renovating facilities for tourism, providing public safety to promote tourism, and funding advertising and marketing campaigns to promote and enhance tourism, the governing authorities are authorized, in their discretion, to levy, assess and collect from every person or entity operating a hotel or motel, in addition to all other taxes currently being levied, assessed and collected, a tax not to exceed three percent (3%) of the gross proceeds of sales of room rentals for each such hotel or motel.

     (2)  Persons or entities liable for the tax shall add the amount of the tax to the sales price and shall collect the amount of the tax due by them from the person receiving the services at the time of payment.

     SECTION 3.  (1)  Before levying the tax, the governing authorities shall adopt a resolution declaring their intention to hold an election on the question of whether to levy the tax, setting forth the amount of the tax to be imposed, the effective date of the tax and the date of the election.  Notice of such intention and election shall be published once each week for 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.  The election shall be conducted in the same manner as other city elections, and the governing authorities shall direct the city election commissioners to conduct the election as such.  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 TOURISM PROMOTION TAX" and, on a separate line, "AGAINST THE TOURISM PROMOTION TAX," and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (X) or check ()opposite their choice on the proposition.  After the results of the election have been canvassed and certified, the city may levy the tax if a majority of the qualified electors who vote in the election vote in favor of the tax.

     (2)  At least thirty (30) days before the effective date of the tax, the governing authorities shall furnish to the Department of Revenue a certified copy of the resolution evidencing the tax.

     SECTION 4.  (1)  The tax shall be collected by and paid to the Mississippi Department of Revenue in the manner that state sales taxes are computed, collected and paid, and the full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Title 27, Chapter 65, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation and administration of this act.

     (2)  The proceeds of the tax, less three percent (3%) which shall be retained by the Department of Revenue to cover the cost of collection, shall be paid to the city on or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which it was collected.

     (3)  The proceeds of the tax shall not be considered by the city as general fund revenues but shall be set aside and earmarked by the city in a special account to be dedicated solely for the purpose of promoting tourism in the city.

     (4)  The records reflecting the receipts and expenditures of the revenue from the tax 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 may be paid from the funds derived from the tax authorized in this act.

     SECTION 5.  The city is granted the following authority, in addition to all other authority conferred by law, to promote tourism in the city and to effectuate the purposes of this act:

          (a)  To acquire, construct, lease, rent, furnish, equip, repair, maintain, staff and operate facilities and equipment necessary or useful in the promotion of tourism in the city;

          (b)  To receive and expend revenues from any sources, including, but not limited to, revenues from private enterprises and the revenues derived from the tax authorized in this act;

          (c)  To employ such personnel as deemed necessary by the governing authorities to carry out this act; and

          (d)  To exercise activities related to promoting tourism in the city, including, but not limited to, contracting with other entities, preparing marketing and advertising campaigns and marketing and staging events to promote tourism in the city.

     SECTION 6.  The city may pledge revenues derived from the tax authorized in this act as security to repay any indebtedness of the city which the city may otherwise be authorized to incur under the laws of the state that is consistent with the purposes of this act.

     SECTION 7.  Subject to the provisions of this act, and provided there is no indebtedness or obligation outstanding under this act, the governing authorities are authorized to discontinue the tax levied under this act by adopting a resolution to that effect.  The discontinuance of the tax shall be effective beginning on the first day of the month designated in the resolution, and the tax levy shall not apply to sales made on or after that date.  A certified copy of the resolution discontinuing the tax shall be delivered to the Department of Revenue at least seven (7) days before the date set in the resolution for the discontinuance of the tax.

     SECTION 8.  This act shall be repealed from and after July 1, 2026.

     SECTION 9.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

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