City Council discusses potential exemptions, deductions for proposed income tax
Potential exemptions and deductions for the proposed income tax were part of the discussion-only meeting of East Lansing City Council Tuesday evening.
The proposed tax, if approved in November, would be 1 percent for East Lansing residents and 0.5 percent for non-resident workers.
Some of the exemptions are set and cannot change, while some can be adjusted, City Attorney Tom Yeadon said.
“It’s uniform, so we don’t get to add new exemptions that we feel would be appropriate or not add,” Yeadon said.
Those who qualify as one or more of the following can be exempted: 65 years and older, blind, deaf, paraplegic, quadriplegic, hemiplegic or totally and permanently disabled person.
The council can decide to provide an exemption for those with low income levels, and they can decide what qualifies as low-income.
The final possible exemption is a personal and dependency exemption where a set amount of money can be exempted from the tax. Spouses and dependents can also be exempted.
The minimum exemption is $600 and the city can choose to raise that amount.
An overall $4,000 exemption was discussed, as it is the amount the average MSU student makes in a year, Councilmember Ruth Beier said.
City Council candidate Aaron Stephens spoke during the public comment time, asking the council to consider a higher exemption to help students.
More research will be done into possible exemptions, but all the deductions are set in the ordinance and cannot be changed, Yeadon said.
The discussion comes after an agreement could not be reached between the city and MSU to keep the income tax off the Nov. 7 ballot.