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Council passes income tax exemptions, average student won't pay tax

October 11, 2017
<p>&nbsp;East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows speaks during a city council meeting on Sept. 13, 2016 at East Lansing City Hall. The city council meets to take action on legislative matters on several Tuesdays of each month. &nbsp;Photo by <strong>Derek VanHorn</strong>.</p>

 East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows speaks during a city council meeting on Sept. 13, 2016 at East Lansing City Hall. The city council meets to take action on legislative matters on several Tuesdays of each month.  Photo by Derek VanHorn.

The average MSU student has been exempted from the proposed East Lansing city income tax, if it passes in November.

Anyone who has a gross income of $5,000 or less a year will not pay a tax on their income, regardless of their total household income, states the ordinance adopted at the East Lansing City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Setting the exemption at $5,000 means most students will not pay, as the average student makes $4,000 a year, Mayor Mark Meadows said previously.

Each taxpayer has a $600 exemption, regardless of their income. Elderly and disabled people also have special exemptions. For a full list of exemptions, view the ordinance here.

Meadows, Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier and councilmembers Susan Woods and Erik Altmann voted in favor of the exemption. Councilmember Shanna Draheim was not present.

These exemptions were adopted prior to the Nov. 7 election, where an income tax is proposed on the ballot alongside a proposal to reduce property taxes.

If the income tax is approved, city residents will pay a 1 percent annual tax and nonresident workers will pay 0.5 percent annually.

Parking

A temporary parking voucher program for businesses affected by construction for Center City was approved at the meeting. Parking spaces will be lost in the Albert Avenue, or Lot 1, parking lot during construction.

Businesses within the 100 and 200 blocks of Grand River Avenue, and 100 and 200 blocks of Albert Avenue, that rely on public parking, will receive $100 of parking vouchers per month once construction begins.

The program will end once the new parking garage is complete, which is estimated to be 12 months after construction begins.

"I think this is terrific and I want to thank everybody who worked on putting this together,” Altmann said. “I hope this addresses some of the concerns about parking during construction downtown.” 

"It's On Us"

The council also passed a resolution recognizing the "It's On Us" Sexual Assault Awareness week at MSU, Oct. 23 to 27.

Associated Students of Michigan State University President Lorenzo Santavicca thanked the council for recognizing the week.

"We recognize that more so than ever we have to do better, we have to make sure that people are aware of the issue," Santavicca said. "We're really excited that you're taking this up for us tonight."

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