GULFPORT — Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann recently presented a check for $7,046,853 to the Commission on Marine Resources (CMR), dollars generated from tidelands leases and assessments.
The tidelands lease revenue was collected on leases on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The tidelands assessment revenue is a result of House Bill 44, passed in the 2005 Fifth Extraordinary Session. That bill allowed land-based casinos on the Coast and required them to pay a tidelands assessment, which is based on a casino’s capital investment.
The people of Mississippi own the public trust tidelands, the land covered by water at high tide. Rent is collected by the Secretary of State’s Office from tidelands leaseholders, including casinos. As Secretary of State, Hosemann negotiates tidelands leases on behalf of the state. Traditionally, the Mississippi Legislature appropriates the lease revenue for specific projects. Rent is collected from tidelands leaseholders by the Secretary of State’s Office and then returned to the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) at the end of the fiscal year.
The Tidelands Trust Fund Program consists of funds derived from the lease rentals of tidelands and submerged lands. Revenues collected by the Secretary of State’s Office are appropriated by the state legislature and administered by the CMR. Since 1990, the Secretary of State’s Office has collected more than $74 million in tidelands leases.