AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO CERTAIN NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE MADE TO SUPPORT THE MISSISSIPPI INTEGRATED BASIC EDUCATION AND SKILLS TRAINING MODEL PROGRAM; TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF THE CREDIT THAT MAY BE CLAIMED IN ANY TAXABLE YEAR; TO LIMIT THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF CREDITS THAT MAY BE AWARDED UNDER THIS ACT IN ANY ONE CALENDAR YEAR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There shall be a credit against the taxes imposed by this chapter in the amount of contributions made by a taxpayer to a qualified Mississippi nonprofit organization created to serve the state community and junior college system in nonprofit endeavors that are made to support the Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (MI-BEST) model program. The amount of the credit claimed by a taxpayer shall not exceed One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) in any taxable year. In order to qualify for the tax credit authorized by this section, the contributions shall be made to a nonprofit organization approved by the Mississippi Community College Board to match state-appropriated funds. Any unused portion of the credit may be carried forward for the three (3) succeeding tax years.
(2) The aggregate amount of credits that may be awarded in the 2017 calendar year shall not exceed Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00). The aggregate amount of credits that may be awarded in the 2018 calendar year shall not exceed Twelve Million Dollars ($12,000,000.00). The aggregate amount of credits that may be awarded in the 2019 calendar year and in each calendar year thereafter shall not exceed Fifteen Million Dollars ($15,000,000.00)....
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 2017. Copy of bill.
The bill passed the House on a unanimous vote and currently resides the Senate awaiting action. The sponsors of the bill are Trey Lamar, Cedric Burnett, Orlando Paden, John, Hines and Kathy Sykes. All but Mr. Lamar are Democrats. However, Republican Lamar just happens to represent none other than Lafayette County - the home turf of Dickie Scruggs.
Hmmm..... now who just happens to be promoting this goal? Why none other than Dickie Scruggs. The Clarion-Ledger reported two years ago:
Former hotshot attorney Dickie Scruggs, having served his time for judicial bribery and barred from ever again practicing law, has made this issue his new life passion. With the blessing of all 15 community college presidents and a cadre of adult-education experts, Scruggs launched a nonprofit called SecondChanceMS.Make no mistake, helping these dropouts become more productive members of society is indeed a worthy cause. Mr. Scruggs even formed a non-profit organization, Second Chance Mississippi, that obtained 501(c)(3) status to accomplish this goal. Hottytoddy.com reported last summer:
The organization hopes to raise $1 million this year alone to supplement the $3 million in state dollars community colleges must share for their dropout recovery efforts. The current allocation, although double what the Legislature provided just two years ago, falls short of the colleges' needs.
Some half-million high-school dropouts reside in Mississippi. An additional 14,000 join their ranks each year. If the community college system can recover just one quarter of them, it would go a long way toward raising the academic attainment level of the entire state, said Eloise Richardson, state director of adult education and GED testing..... Rest of article
Second Chance Mississippi is pleased to announce that Zach Scruggs will assume the role as Executive Director.Mr. Scruggs has been an advisor to Second Chance MS since the beginning and his passion and leadership in a formal role will take the foundation to the next level. His enthusiasm, energy and passion are an unbeatable combination. His focus for 2016 is to establish Second Chance MS as its own 501c3, ensure that it becomes self sustaining and implement a pilot program that recruits and retains adult students in Mississippi’s 15 community colleges.
“Zach is a quick learner and a hard worker. He will be an excellent Executive Director and I am glad he decided to return to Mississippi. Second Chance will grow rapidly with Zach’s energy and enthusiasm,” said Dr. Andrew Mullins, Jr., director of Mississippi Teacher Corps and serves as an advisor to Second Chance Mississippi.... Rest of press release, um, article.
Second Chance's website states:
Mississippi ranks second to last in the Nation in workforce participation, meaning that only 55% of adult Mississippians are either employed or are looking for work. Mississippi also ranks last in high school dropouts, with over 400,000 adults (20% of the adult population) lacking a high school diploma. This is unacceptable to us and the overwhelming majority of Mississippians. We believe that the lack of an educated and skilled workforce in Mississippi is the root cause of every other crisis we Mississippians face, whether it be poverty, racism, childhood education and literacy, dependence...
Our mission at 2nd Chance MS is to raise awareness and funds for adult education and works skills training. We are actively developing programs and initiatives that will significantly increase the number of Mississippi adults that have both the education and training to obtain and keep a good paying job.
As stated earlier, these are indeed worthy goals and JJ supports the efforts of 2nd Chance Ms to help drop-outs improve their lot in life. However, the bill just happens to give a million dollar tax credit to a non-profit organization that just happens to fit the description of Mr. Scrugg's 2nd Chance MS organization.
Mr. Scruggs is obviously a man of wealth and means. He can pay his son's salary and do his good works without having the rest of us pay for it. Make no mistake, the legislature should increase funding for the actual programs that will help these dropouts. However, it should not foot the bill for the Scruggs family to do the same. The Senate should kill this bill.