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East Lansing income tax proposal draws growing opposition

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
“You’re taking one of the more expensive cities and making it more expensive," says Nancy Marr (at the podium).";s:

A group of East Lansing businesses and university student leaders wants the city council to cancel plans for a vote on a city income tax in November.

The ballot proposal calls for creating a tax that would tax residents 1% of their income and non-residents 0.5%.  The tax would generate around $10 million annually. About half the revenues would go toward a property tax rate reduction. City leaders say implementing an income tax would help deal with mounting employee legacy costs

But opposition to the income tax is mounting.

Michigan State University administrators have lobbied against the proposal. University officials argue a city income tax would be bad for MSU employees and students. MSU has offered the city $20 million if the ballot proposal is pulled.

A coalition of university students, local business owners, and income tax critics came together in an East Lansing pizzeria to voice their opposition today.  

Nancy Marr owns apartments in the college town. She says passing an city income tax is the easy way of solving East Lansing’s money issues.

“It’s easier to increase taxes than it is to make cuts,” Marr says. “Maybe they need to look at more painful options.”

If East Lansing city leaders don’t decide to pull the ballot proposal from the November ballot, student leaders promise to register as many MSU students to vote as possible before the election to vote the proposal down.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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