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S 969
Session 116 (2005-2006) 

S 0969 Joint Resolution, By McConnell, Leatherman, Thomas, Martin, Short, 
Alexander, Richardson, Ritchie, Sheheen, Campsen, Williams, Ford, Anderson and 
Knotts
 A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 7, ARTICLE X OF THE
 CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO ANNUAL BUDGETS AND EXPENSES
 OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IF A TAX
 MUST BE LEVIED TO PAY FOR A DEFICIENCY OF THE PRECEDING YEAR, ANY CATASTROPHIC
 EVENT OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNING BODY, OR COMPLIANCE WITH A COURT
 ORDER OR DECREE, THE AMOUNT OF TAX PAID BY A TAXPAYER MUST BE LISTED ON THE
 TAX STATEMENT AS A SEPARATE SURCHARGE AND NOT INCLUDED WITH A GENERAL MILLAGE
 INCREASE; AND PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS
 STATE, RELATING TO FINANCE AND TAXATION, BY ADDING SECTION 17, SO AS TO
 PROVIDE THAT, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, A SCHOOL DISTRICT, COUNTY,
 MUNICIPALITY, SPECIAL PURPOSE DISTRICT, PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICT, OR POLITICAL
 SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE MUST LIMIT AN INCREASE IN ITS MILLAGE RATE TO NO MORE
 THAN THE AVERAGE OF THE PERCENTAGE INCREASES IN THE TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME
 GROWTH IN THE STATE FOR EACH OF THE THREE PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED CALENDAR YEARS
 FOR WHICH FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

   12/13/05  Senate Prefiled
   12/13/05  Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary
   01/10/06  Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-19
   01/10/06  Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-19
   01/11/06  Senate Committee report: Favorable Judiciary SJ-16
   01/12/06         Scrivener's error corrected
   02/21/06  Senate Special order SJ-27
   02/22/06  Senate Amended SJ-30
   02/22/06  Senate Debate interrupted by adjournment SJ-30
   02/23/06  Senate Amended SJ-15
   02/23/06  Senate Debate adjourned SJ-15
   02/23/06         Scrivener's error corrected
   03/21/06  Senate  Status of Special Order Rescinded SJ-23
   05/17/06  Senate Recommitted to Committee on Judiciary SJ-35





S. 969

Indicates Matter Stricken

Indicates New Matter

AMENDED

February 23, 2006

S. 969

Introduced by Senators McConnell, Leatherman, Thomas, Martin, Short, Alexander, Richardson, Ritchie, Sheheen, Campsen, Williams, Ford, Anderson and Knotts

S. Printed 2/23/06--S.    [SEC 2/23/06 3:13 PM]

Read the first time January 10, 2006.

            

A JOINT RESOLUTION

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 7, ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO ANNUAL BUDGETS AND EXPENSES OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IF A TAX MUST BE LEVIED TO PAY FOR A DEFICIENCY OF THE PRECEDING YEAR, ANY CATASTROPHIC EVENT OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNING BODY, OR COMPLIANCE WITH A COURT ORDER OR DECREE, THE AMOUNT OF TAX PAID BY A TAXPAYER MUST BE LISTED ON THE TAX STATEMENT AS A SEPARATE SURCHARGE AND NOT INCLUDED WITH A GENERAL MILLAGE INCREASE; AND PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE, RELATING TO FINANCE AND TAXATION, BY ADDING SECTION 17, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, A SCHOOL DISTRICT, COUNTY, MUNICIPALITY, SPECIAL PURPOSE DISTRICT, PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICT, OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE MUST LIMIT AN INCREASE IN ITS MILLAGE RATE TO NO MORE THAN THE AVERAGE OF THE PERCENTAGE INCREASES IN THE TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH IN THE STATE FOR EACH OF THE THREE PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED CALENDAR YEARS FOR WHICH FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

Amend Title To Conform

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    It is proposed that Section 7, Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended to read:

"Section 7.    (a)(A)    The General Assembly shall provide by law for a budget process to insure ensure that annual expenditures of state government may not exceed annual state revenue.

(b)(B)(1)    Each political subdivision of the State as defined in Section 14 of this article and each school district of this State shall prepare and maintain annual budgets which provide for sufficient income to meet its estimated expenses for each year. Whenever it shall happen that the ordinary expenses of a political subdivision for any year shall exceed the income of such political subdivision, the governing body of such political subdivision shall provide for levying a tax in the ensuing year sufficient, with other sources of income, to pay the deficiency of the preceding year together with the estimated expenses for such ensuing year.

(2)    If a tax must be levied to pay for:

(a)    the deficiency of the preceding year,

(b)    any catastrophic event outside the control of the governing body such as a natural disaster, severe weather event, act of God, or act of terrorism, fire, war, or riot,

(c)    compliance with a court order or decree,

(d)    taxpayer closure due to circumstances outside the control of the governing body that decreases by ten percent or more the amount of revenue payable to the taxing jurisdiction in the preceding year, or

(e)    compliance with a regulation promulgated or statute enacted by the federal or state government after the ratification date of this section for which an appropriation or a method for obtaining an appropriation is not provided by the federal or state government,

then the amount of tax for each taxpayer must be listed on the tax statement as a separate surcharge, for each aforementioned applicable subitem, and not be included with a general millage increase. Each separate surcharge must have an explanation of the reason for the surcharge. The surcharge must be continued only for the years necessary to pay for the deficiency, for the catastrophic event, or for compliance with the court order or decree.

(3)    The General Assembly shall establish procedures to insure ensure that the provisions of this section are enforced.

(c)(C)(1)    The General Assembly shall prescribe by law a spending limitation on appropriations for the operation of state government which shall provide that annual increases in such appropriations may not exceed the average growth rate of the economy of the State as measured by a process provided for by the law which prescribes the limitations on appropriations; provided, however, the limitation may be suspended for any one fiscal year by a special vote as provided in this subsection.

(2)    During the regular session of the General Assembly in 1990 and during every fifth annual regular session thereafter, the General Assembly shall conduct and complete a review of the law implementing this subsection. During such session, only a vote of two-thirds of the members of each branch present and voting shall be required to change the existing limitation on appropriation. Unless that is done, the existing limitations shall remain unchanged.

(3)    Upon implementation of the provisions of this subsection by law, such law may not be amended or repealed except by the special vote as provided in this subsection.

(4)    The special vote referred to in this subsection means an affirmative vote in each branch of the General Assembly by two-thirds of the members present and voting, but not less than three-fifths of the total membership in each branch.

(d)(D)(1)    The General Assembly shall prescribe by law a limitation on the number of state employees which shall provide that the annual increase in such number may not exceed the average growth rate in the population of the State measured by a process provided for in the law which prescribes that employment limitation; provided, however, the limitation may be suspended for any one fiscal year by a special vote as provided in this subsection.

(2)    Upon implementation of the provisions of this subsection by law, such law may not be amended or repealed except by the special vote provided in this subsection.

(3)    The special vote referred to in this subsection means an affirmative vote in each branch of the General Assembly by two-thirds of the members present and voting, but not less than three-fifths of the total membership in each branch."

SECTION    2.    The proposed amendment must be submitted to the qualified electors at the next general election for representatives. Ballots must be provided at the various voting precincts with the following words printed or written on the ballot:

"Must Section 7, Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended to make grammatical and organizational changes and to provide that if a tax must be levied to pay for a deficiency of the preceding year, for any catastrophic event outside the control of the governing body, for compliance with a court order or decree, for taxpayer closure due to circumstances outside the control of the governing body that decreases by ten percent or more the amount of revenue payable to the taxing jurisdiction in the preceding year, or for compliance with a regulation promulgated or statute enacted by the federal or state government after the ratification date of this section for which an appropriation or a method for obtaining an appropriation is not provided by the federal or state government, then the amount of tax paid by a taxpayer must be listed on the tax statement as a separate surcharge and not be included with a general millage increase?

Yes    []

No    []

Those voting in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'Yes', and those voting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'No'."

SECTION    3.    It is proposed that Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended by adding:

"Section 17.    (A)    For purposes of this section:

(1)    'General election' means an election held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of any year.

(2)    'Governing body' means the body of elected officials that exercise the taxing authority for a school district or a taxing jurisdiction.

(3)    'School district' means a body or entity authorized to determine or impose millage for the operation of any area or territory comprising a legal entity, whose sole purpose is that of providing free school education, whose boundary lines are a matter of public record, and the area of which constitutes a complete tax unit.

(4)    'Taxing jurisdiction' means a county, municipality, special purpose district, public service district, or political subdivision of the State. 'Taxing jurisdiction' does not mean a school district.

(B)(1)    Except as provided in items (2), (3), and (4), a school district is required to limit an increase in the millage rate to no more than the average of the percentage increases in the total personal income growth in the State for each of the three previously completed calendar years for which figures are available from the United States Department of Commerce.

(2)    The limitation imposed by this subsection shall not apply to a school district that does not have fiscal autonomy and has its millage determined by referendum. If a school district that does not have fiscal autonomy has its millage increase determined by referendum, no limitation is imposed upon the amount by which the millage is increased.

(3)    The limitation imposed by this subsection shall not apply to a school district that has a more restrictive limitation upon increasing millage imposed by a local law enacted by the General Assembly and applicable to that school district. A school district must comply with a more restrictive limitation upon increasing millage that is imposed by applicable local law enacted by the General Assembly.

(4)    A school district that has fiscal autonomy may increase its millage rate in excess of the limitation required in items (1) or (3) upon the majority vote of the qualified electors voting in a referendum held at the time of the general election. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, such election may be called only upon the majority vote of the governing body and must be governed according to state law. The question for the referendum must be substantially in the following form: 'Do you favor raising the millage rate of the [name of school district] for the purpose of [insert purpose]?' If approved by the majority vote of the electors in a referendum, the school district's millage rate is adjusted for any future fiscal years.

(C)(1)    Except as provided in items (2) and (3), a taxing jurisdiction is required to limit an increase in the millage rate to no more than the average of the percentage increases in the total personal income growth in the State for each of the three previously completed calendar years for which figures are available from the United States Department of Commerce.

(2)    If the General Assembly by general law imposes a more restrictive limitation upon millage increases for taxing jurisdictions, then the more restrictive limitation upon millage increases imposed by general law is applicable for taxing jurisdictions.

(3)    A taxing jurisdiction may increase its millage rate in excess of the limitation required in items (1) or (2) upon the majority vote of the qualified electors voting in a referendum held at the time of the general election. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, such election may be called only upon the majority vote of the governing body and must be governed according to state law. The question for the referendum must be substantially in the following form: 'Do you favor raising the millage rate of the [name of taxing jurisdiction] for the purpose of [insert purpose]?' If approved by the majority vote of the electors in a referendum, the taxing jurisdiction's millage rate is adjusted for any future fiscal years.

(D)    The limitations imposed by this section shall not apply to any existing or future bonded indebtedness incurred by a school district or taxing jurisdiction, and shall not restrict or extend the authority of a school district or taxing jurisdiction to incur bonded indebtedness as provided in this Constitution and general law."

SECTION    4.    The proposed amendment must be submitted to the qualified electors at the next general election for representatives. Ballots must be provided at the various voting precincts with the following words printed or written on the ballot:

"Must Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended by adding Section 17 so as to provide that, except in certain circumstances, a school district, county, municipality, special purpose district, public service district, or political subdivision of the State must limit an increase in its millage rate to no more than the average of the percentage increases in the total personal income growth in the State for each of the three previously completed calendar years for which figures are available from the United States Department of Commerce?

Yes    []

No    []

Those voting in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'Yes', and those voting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'No'."

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