Article Comment 

Bill to waive taxes for school-bus contractors


Dispatch Staff Report



The Mississippi Legislature has moved to create a tax exemption for companies like Waters Truck and Tractor who contract with schools for transportation services. 


The measure will add contractors who provide transportation to and from school and for other related services to the exemption already held by federal and state vehicles, as well as school district-owned vehicles. 


"They have the contract with the city schools, and, of course, city schools don''t pay ad valorem on their buses," Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, said of Waters, which handles transportation services for Columbus Municipal School District. "So this bill allows them to waive that if they are in the contract with a school system." 


Nine school districts in the state, including the West Point School District and the CMSD, outsource their transportation needs, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. 


WPSD outsources to First Student, which also handles transportation services for Madison, Hinds and Yazoo counties'' schools. 


"This is a pretty new phenomenon in the state of Mississippi, to have school routes contracted out," noted Chism, who co-authored the bill. 


Often, he said, the taxes are passed along to the districts in the form of higher contract fees. 


"We''re really taxing ourselves when we''re making the schools pay ad valorem taxes," Chism said. 


The measure is House Bill 1677, introduced by Reps. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, Chism, David Gibbs, D-West Point, Walter Robinson, D-Bolton, and Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula. 


Other vehicles with ad valorem taxes waived include those owned by fire protection agencies, the National Guard, disabled veterans, survivor spouses of a member of the armed forces who died on active duty and Medal of Honor recipients; antique vehicles also are exempt. 


The bill has passed both Legislative bodies; the governor has an April 7 deadline to return the bill from his office. 


To read bills, track their status and see how legislators voted, go to the Mississippi Legislature''s Web site: 


The Web site also has live videocasts of the House and Senate when they''re taking up bills on the floor.  





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Reader Comments

Article Comment eric jonas commented at 4/4/2010 9:05:00 AM:

These companies enter into this business to make a profit...they charge the taxpayers/school district for their services. Waste Management and the profitable garbage companies that charge, and make a profit for services that governments lose money on are next I guess. Maybe telephone UPS and satellite service vans could be included. This Bill is NOT in the best interest of the voters.


Article Comment Col-Voter commented at 4/4/2010 12:53:00 PM:

I'm not sure about West Point but doesn't the Columbus City Schools own the buses that Water's Truck and Tractor are using? That was the fall back so if the contract was not successful the School would not have to purchase buses to get back into the hauling of students. So why would Water's need an exemption?


Article Comment captain chaos commented at 4/4/2010 4:29:00 PM:

They need an exemption because they are Waters Truck and Tractor. Just like the garbage company that gave the board of supervisers kickbacks to pass so called county ordinances so they can charge two or three people for the garbage pick up at the same residence.


Article Comment bigbadjohn commented at 4/4/2010 4:31:00 PM:

Col-Voter, you make an excellent point and probably one that Chism doesn't want to discuss. As noticed in the first sentence of the report, a tax exemption for the company, which in essence could be all of his vehicles other than buses. Chism needs to explain to the voters about these questions. It looks sleazy to me.


Article Comment Col-Voter commented at 4/4/2010 5:46:00 PM:

Let's not forget the Rep. Jeff Smith is also a co-signer on this bill.


Article Comment taxpayer commented at 4/5/2010 12:03:00 PM:

It also exempts parts, sales of buses, fuel ...
HB 1677
(u) Buses and other motor vehicles that are (a) owned
109 and operated by an entity that has entered into a contract with a 110 school board under Section 37-41-31 for the purpose of
111 transporting students to and from schools and (b) used by the
112 entity for such transportation purposes. This paragraph (u) shall 113 apply to contracts entered into or renewed on or after July 1,
114 2010.
Sweet Deal for Waters and First Student, bet they are gonna reduce their cost for the tax exemption - NOT (Gotta donate to Legislators)


Article Comment Waters Representative commented at 4/6/2010 4:27:00 PM:

To clarifiy comments made to date, Bill 1677's sole purpose is to save school districts money. The bill provides neutral revenue and Waters does not increase it's profit from this bill. In fact, any reduction in costs ARE passed along to the school districts that Waters serves, which could include all school districts in the state of MS. In an economy where school districts are required to reduce costs, a bill such as this has a direct savings to the student transportation cost for districts that outsource their transportion and provides additional money for education.


Article Comment bigbadjohn commented at 4/6/2010 9:43:00 PM:

Waters Rep, does the city own the buses or Waters?


Article Comment m commented at 4/7/2010 3:12:00 PM:

the city owns the busses


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