Present Constitution provides that effective July 1, 2007, one-fifth of the severance tax on all natural resources other than sulphur, lignite or timber shall be remitted to the governing authority of the parish in which severance or production occurs and the initial maximum amount remitted shall not exceed $850,000.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment provides that effective April 1, 2012, the provisions of this proposed constitutional amendment shall be implemented if and when the last official forecast of revenues adopted for a fiscal year before the start of that fiscal year contains an estimate of severance tax revenues from natural resources other than sulphur, lignite, or timber that exceeds the actual severance tax revenues collected in Fiscal Year 2008-2009. In such event, the following distributions and allocations of severance tax revenues and other revenues shall be effective and implemented for the fiscal year for which the official forecast was adopted and each subsequent year:
a) Remittance to parishes.
i) In the first fiscal year of implementation, increases the maximum amount of severance tax remitted to the parish in which severance or production occurs to $1,850,000. In subsequent fiscal years, provides that the maximum amount remitted to the parish shall not exceed $2,850,000.
ii) Provides that on July 1st of each year, the maximum amount remitted to the parish in which severance or production occurs shall be increased by an amount equal to the average annual increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the previous calendar year, as published by the United States Department of Labor, which amount shall be calculated and adopted by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
iii) Provides that "excess severance tax" is the amount of severance tax revenues in excess of the amount of such tax revenues remitted to a parish in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 and provides that at least fifty percent of the excess severance tax received by a parish in a fiscal year shall be expended within the parish in the same manner and for the same purposes as money received by the parish from the Parish Transportation Fund.
b) Deposit into the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund.
i) Provides that after allocation of money to the Bond Security and Redemption Fund, allocations to the parishes, payment of royalties to the parishes, payment into the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Fund and payment into the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, fifty percent of the revenues received from severance taxes and royalties on state lands in the Atchafalaya Basin, not to exceed $10,000,000 each fiscal year, shall be deposited into the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund. The money in the fund shall be used exclusively for projects contained in the state or federal Basin master plans or an annual Basin plan developed and approved by the advisory or approval board created for that purpose or to provide match for the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System, Louisiana Project. Also provides that each year's plan for expenditure of money appropriated from the fund shall be subject to the approval of the appropriate subject matter committees of the legislature.
ii) Provides that eighty-five percent of the money appropriated in any fiscal year shall be used for water management, water quality, or access projects and fifteen percent may be used to complete ongoing projects and for projects that are in accordance with the mission statement of the state master plan. Further provides that a maximum of five percent of the money appropriated in any fiscal year may be used for the operational costs of the program or the Department of Natural Resources.
To decrease the amount of taxes retained by the state on the severance of natural resources, other than sulphur, lignite, and timber, and to increase the maximum amount of such revenues which are remitted to the parish governing authority from where the severance occurs, to be implemented in the event that the official forecast of severance tax revenues for any fiscal year includes an estimate for severance tax collections which will exceed that actually collected by the state in Fiscal Year 2008-2009; to change the annual maximum amount to be remitted to a parish governing authority from eight hundred fifty thousand dollars to one million eight hundred fifty thousand for the first fiscal year of implementation, which amount would increase to two million eight hundred fifty thousand dollars for the following and subsequent fiscal years; to provide for annual adjustment of the maximum amounts in accordance with the consumer price index; to require that of the revenues received by a parish governing authority under these provisions, that portion which is in excess of the amount of such revenues received in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 be used within the parish for the same purposes as monies received from the Parish Transportation Fund; to require that of the severance taxes and royalty revenues retained by the state from activity on state lands within the Atchafalaya Basin, up to ten million dollars per year be deposited into a special fund created in the state treasury to be known as the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund; to provide that monies in this fund be used exclusively for conservation, improvement, and management of the Atchafalaya Basin in accordance with formal state and federal plans; to require legislative approval for and specific limitations on the use of monies appropriated from the fund. (Effective April 1, 2012.) (Adds Article VII, Section 4(D)(4))
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