MSU revokes $20 million offer to remove income tax proposal from ballot

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The proposed East Lansing income tax has been a hot topic for nearly a year now.

East Lansing says the tax is needed as another source of revenue for the city. However, opponents of the income tax, like Michigan State University, say it would be bad for East Lansing.

The proposal would require East Lansing residents to pay the city 1 percent of their income, non-residents to pay half a percent, and it would cut property taxes.

In August, MSU offered to pay the city $20 million over the course of 10 years to take the proposal off the November ballot.

East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows says the city was ready to take the money, but over a shorter timeframe. However, the University took its offer off the table Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been working working working you know a little behind the scenes trying to find the sweet spot on this for both the university and the city,” Meadows said. “But I think at this point it was clear that the board of trustees was not interested in going forward.”

Here is the statement – in part – MSU released Tuesday on the status of negotiations with the city of East Lansing:

“MSU has been offering alternatives to city leaders to help address their municipal finance concerns, and we sincerely hoped that a mutually satisfactory alternative could be worked out. Our $20 million offer related to fire safety represented our share of the solution…”

The statement later continues:

“Regrettably though, we simply ran out of time with the ballot language deadline. We will continue to work in support of the long-term interests of the City of East Lansing and MSU.”

“All I know is they weren’t able to reach agreement among themselves as to going forward,” Meadows said. “To me that means at least half of them would oppose making any offer to the City of East Lansing.”

Meadows said the ballot measure was expected to be sent to print Wednesday morning.

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