MSU cost study, potential city income tax up for discussion in East Lansing

East Lansing

UPDATE: 11:15 p.m. – Have you ever wondered what Michigan State University would be without East Lansing and vice versa?

Keeping that in mind, have you ever wondered how much money MSU brings to East Lansing, and how much the city brings to MSU?

This was just one topic up for discussion in East Lansing Monday night, as the city appointed Financial Health Review Team continues to explore options for the city’s financial shortcomings.

East Lansing has a money problem, a $100 million money problem and the Financial Health Review Team has been working for months to come up with potential solutions.

During Monday night’s public meeting, where the team hopes to get feedback from the community, the focus was on some of the tax options available to fix the problem and the economic impact of MSU.

“I think it gives opportunities that have not been looked at before,” Mike Moquin, Chair of the FHRT said. “Our charge was to look at the whole picture and that’s what we’ve attempted to do with the various studies that we’ve had performed.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of what recent studies show: An income tax could generate more than $10 million a year for the city.

Residents would pay an estimated $5.3 million a year, while non-residents would dish out about $4.7 million.

As far as businesses go, they would collectively pay just under half a million dollars.

Here’s where MSU comes in.

A university as large as MSU, brings with it students, faculty, and staff; many who live in the city.

Every year, the city spends money providing services to MSU that are not reimbursed by the university or the state.

Those services include things like additional police and fire personnel.

A recent report shows that in 2015, those costs estimated to be about $3.75 million.

“That came as a big surprise because that alone is about 10 percent of the city’s total budget right there,” Moquin said.

“We’ve seen in the reports that there have been numbers that justify that students are not just the beneficiary of the services of East Lansing,” Lorenzo Santavicca said. He’s an MSU student and President of the Associated Students of Michigan State University, better known as ASMSU.

“The number of students that were in jail or after events was actually lower than non-MSU students, so I think there’s a lot of questions that these reports don’t actually answer and looking at who’s the beneficiary of these services. I think another important issue to look at here is when students leave the city in the summer and what not, who is also going to be picking up on those services?”

Santavicca said the idea of an income tax is raising some concerns among students.

“Another concern was raised that faculty are going to be affected by this. Faculty are recruited to Michigan State, they’re also going to see that they’re going to have an income tax; that affects students. We need to make sure we have the best faculty at Michigan State,” he said.

Even though the East Lansing City Council will have some things to consider once these recommendations come forward, the city cannot implement an income tax, unless the voters approve it.

The Financial Health Review Team will hold a final meeting for the public to attend on December 15, 2016. Members are hoping the community will attend, to provide feedback on the recommendations before they go before the city council.

Take a look at the reports by clicking here.

 

EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The idea of an income tax is up for discussion in East Lansing Monday night, as the city appointed Financial Health Review Team continues to explore options for the city’s financial dilemma.

Members of the financial team are hoping to lay all the options out on the table, to get feedback from the community.

Another option also includes handing Michigan State University a bill for city services it currently doesn’t pay for.

East Lansing has a money problem, a $100 million money problem and the Financial Health Review Team says an income tax could help with it.

A recent report shows it could generate millions of dollars for the city every year.

Monday night’s meeting will focus on exploring several of the tax options the Financial Health Review Team has come up with.

The 14-page report shows an income tax could generate more than $10 million a year for the city.

Here’s how it breaks down: Residents would pay an estimated $5.3 million a year, while non-residents would dish out about $4.7 million.

As far as businesses go, they would collectively pay just under half a million.

Another topic up for discussion, details a study which estimates on how much the city spends providing services to Michigan State University that are not reimbursed by MSU or the state.

The city cannot implement an income tax unless the voters approve it. The public will have a chance to weigh in Monday night at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

6 News will have a crew there and provide updates later on 6 News at 11.

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