EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Come November’s election, people who live and work in East Lansing will see an income tax proposal on the ballot.
It would require those who live in East Lansing to pay the city 1% of their income, non-residents would pay half percent and it would cut property taxes.
The proposal has been a debate between Michigan State University and East Lansing and it doesn’t seem like they’ll reach a resolution anytime soon.
“Our idea was not to ask MSU for the money, our idea was to tax ourselves,” said East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier.
Beier says that was the plan from the beginning when the city proposed an income tax but MSU’s President Lou Anna K. Simon disagrees.
She says in a series of letters to East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows that she believes “the proposed income tax is not in the best interest of the city or the university” and that it’s a “highly detrimental taxing scheme” that will affect students, MSU employees and businesses.
So President Simon has offered to pay East Lansing $20 million over the course of ten years if the city drops the income tax proposal from the November ballot.
“It’s not nothing and it’s a very generous offer and it would go a ways towards our problem…the problem is first of all it’s only ten years, and second of all it doesn’t quite solve the problem and third the problem that we have gets worse if we can only spend two million dollars a year on it,” said Beier.
Right now, East Lansing is $200 million in debt and to help mitigate the financial problems the city is asking for an income tax to collect an additional $5 million a year in revenue.
But Beier says if the city doesn’t levy the income tax, the city will have to raise property taxes which are already high and she feels President Simon is being disingenuous when it comes to the big picture.
“MSU has already proven that when they need money they just raise tuition so they have a revenue source and we don’t…I really don’t understand her opposition,” Beier stated.
Beier says as of right now, the city of East Lansing plans to move forward and keep the income tax proposal on the November ballot but she says MSU and the city have until mid-September to drop the proposal all together.
You can view the letters between MSU President Simon and East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows here https://cabs.msu.edu/news/key-issues/issue-docs/EL-income-tax.html