The State News, MSUPD speak at ASMSU meeting
Presentations by the MSU Police Department, representatives from the city of East Lansing, and the State News took place at the latest ASMSU general assembly meeting.
The presentations focused on a variety of topics, and opened up the floor to ASMSU representatives to ask the speakers questions.
East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows spoke to the audience along with Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier to answer questions regarding the income tax proposal that will be on the ballot Nov. 7.
Beier took the opportunity to explain the council's reasoning on creating an income tax rather than a business tax, as has been suggested by some members of the community.
“We don’t have other options," Beier said. "We can’t tax on a business. The Constitution says the city can do to things: it can levy a property tax and it can levy an income tax. So, you can’t have a business tax on something as specific as that.”
Beier also explained that every business in East Lansing will have to pay the income tax.
“One of the arguments that people make is, ‘The city can’t put in an income tax. They give money to developers.” ….So, what we’ve done since we’ve been on council is whenever a developer wants to build something, we don’t pay them," Beier said. "You know, if you want to build something you have to create as much revenue as you would if you were paying taxes on it...The second part is, any business that generates income in East Lansing would be subject to the income tax.”
Meadows explained that residents and students who make less than $5,000 annually will not have to pay the tax.
“The rationale for council was the average income of a student who’s working part-time on campus," Meadows said. "So, our understanding based on the university’s information was that about most of the students who work on campus begin at $8 an hour. They tend to work 10 hours a week. The average income on an annual basis would be about $4,160 and we wanted to make sure that we exempted those students from paying the income tax.”
Editor-in-chief Rachel Fradette and watchdog reporter Madison O'Connor served as representatives from The State News. Both women served as ASMSU reporters during their early days at the paper.
Fradette responded to a question concerning the newspaper's process to avoid bias. She believes it comes down to sourcing.
“Let’s say I’m doing a story on ASMSU, and I’m looking into your finances," Fradette said. "I’d get someone on your finance committee, and then I’d get probably Lorenzo, and then another source would be probably a neutral third party. Somebody who can explain to me the numbers without really an opinion or thought on them, because if you have all ASMSU sources, your story will sound a different way. We do that a lot with the university. We get a lot of outside sources of information.”
O'Connor also explained that The State News is not affiliated with MSU in any binding way after Fradette told the assembly that the newspaper owns the building on Grand River Avenue that it is housed in.
“Another important thing to note is that a lot of college papers are housed in their university, and that is not the way we work," O'Connor said. "We are completely separate from the university. In fact, we are not at all on the university, we’re across the street as Rachel said, above Panda Express and Blaze. So, we are actually not affiliated with the university, but we cover the university, so that makes it a little bit easier sometimes to cover certain things.”
MSU Police Deputy Director John Prush also updated the assembly on the moped changes coming up next year. In 2015, Prush said they estimated 1,100 mopeds were on campus.
“Just this morning, I ran a permit query to discover how many mopeds have been registered so far at MSU, and we’re at 1123, so our estimate was actually fairly accurate,” Prush said.
ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said ASMSU has a large role in helping to lead the moped policy to success.
“It’s not the rationale that we’re against necessarily changing up the parking for mopeds, but it’s a safety concern. As an organization it’s really important for us to recognize that we have a role and a responsibility to help other students understand what it means to be a safe citizen on this campus.”