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Court strikes Pascagoula school revenue-distribution law

April 12th, 2012 No comments

In a decision split a couple ways, the Mississippi Supreme Court has struck down a law that requires the city of Pascagoula to distribute tax revenue collected from liquified natural gas terminals and crude oil refineries to all school districts within Jackson County.

Chevron has an oil refinery in Pascagoula, and Gulf LNG has a terminal there.

The city had sued to prevent the all-inclusive distribution shortly after the law was passed in 2007, essentially saying that ad valorem tax revenue collected within the Pascagoula School District should benefit that district alone.

Justice Ann Lamar, writing for the majority, said the law the Legislature passed did not meet the constitutional mandate that a school district’s taxes be collected to maintain “its schools.”

The high court remanded the case back to Jackson County Chancery court. It’s a fairly complicated opinion, with partial concurrences and dissents. Instead of trying to explain it all, I’ll link to it. View the entire thing here.

Obviously, though, this is a big victory for the City of Pascagoula and its school district.