With income tax vote looming, city rejects final offer by Simon
The proposed income tax in East Lansing still remains on the November ballot after the city rejected MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon’s final offer.
Simon renewed her offer of $20 million over the course of ten years to replace the proposed income tax in a letter dated August 24, but Mayor Mark Meadows rejected it, according to letters exchanged between the two obtained by The State News.
The proposed $20 million is “insufficient to adequately address the City’s needs,” Meadows said in a letter dated August 25. In previous letters, Meadows had asked for $30 million to $100 million from the university over the course of ten years.
The city has until the second week of September to remove the proposed income tax from the ballot, and Simon said her offer stands until that point.
A poll conducted by Denno Research, an East Lansing-based market researcher, shows support for the income tax is at 41 percent, while 31 percent oppose it and 28 percent of people are undecided.
400 residents of East Lansing who said they intended on voting were polled August 12 to 15, with a margin of error of 10 percent, according to a press release.
Because of the results of the poll, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling for East Lansing to remove the proposal from the ballot, according to a press release.
However, Meadows said he does not believe the poll is a bad sign, citing that more of the polled residents supported the measure than those who did not.
“It’s actually a very good poll for the city of East Lansing,” Meadows said in a phone interview.
As the proposal moves forward, involving MSU students is important, Meadows said.
“I’ve already talked to Lorenzo Santavicca, president of ASMSU,” Meadows said. “He wanted to know whether we would come on campus and make a presentation. Absolutely. You know, I think that students are a critical component of the city of East Lansing. So we want to make sure that they understand how it might impact them as well.”
If the proposed income tax does pass on November 7, Meadows said an exemption might be enacted, though he did not specify what this might entail.
“We plan on enacting, if we’re authorized to by this vote, enacting an income tax with an exemption associated with it too,” Meadows said.“So we haven’t determined what that exemption would be and when students have asked me I say that’s what you really need to weigh in on.”