MSU releases letters with East Lansing debating tax proposal
MSU released all letter correspondence with East Lansing regarding the proposed income tax, including one final letter sent from President Lou Anna K. Simon to Mayor Mark Meadows.
The letters, released on Sept. 12, follow a cancelled Board of Trustees meeting that same day, which was called in hopes the city and university could reach a last minute agreement to take the tax proposal off the ballot.
The State News previously obtained letters from the city on August 14 through means of a FOI request — which was brought up in the correspondence — following the release of this information to the media.
In President Simon's final letter to Meadows, dated Sept. 12, she acknowledged the city's financial stress and agreed the state of Michigan was not upholding their commitment to reimbursing the city for providing public safety services to the university.
The university offered an estimated $2 million annual payment — for 10 years —to the city to repay them for the services and take the tax off the ballot.
As stated in the letter, Meadows continually turned down the offer on the grounds that it was "insufficient to adequately address the City's needs."
"The safety of our campus, its people that are priceless and our physical assets valued at about $7 billion, has to be of utmost concern for us," Simon wrote.
She went on to say both the city and university would be at high risk if the funding gap was not filled.
"We could not support double dipping from either increased support from the State or taxes on the University community members who are not residents of East Lansing nor could we support proposals that did not transparently connect our payment to public safety," Simon wrote. "I understand and respect that the City had other factors that undergirded its proposals."
The letter concludes with President Simon encouraging future dialogue regarding mutual interests between the university and the city.