Breakdown of East Lansing income tax proposal

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Voters will be heading to the polls for the primary election next week and 6 News wants to make sure you’re informed on things you’ll see on the ballot.

If you are in East Lansing that includes an income tax proposal.

This is the second time voters will see this proposal on the ballot and East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows says it’s different this time around.

This year the income tax proposal will be amended as part of East Lansing’s charter, compared to last year when it was just an approval of an ordinance to allow an income tax.

That means if the proposal passes, no future council can make any changes until it expires. And that’s not the only change voters will see on this issue.

“It also puts in to the charter the requirements for how the money will be spent,” said Meadows.

The East Lansing income tax has not been an easy proposal to pass, but Mayor Meadows says this time is different and the city is being more transparent with where the money will go.

He says if the tax moves forward, 60% will go toward the city’s pension fund, 20% toward infrastructure including parks and another 20% will go toward police and fire.

“The last one was pretty much council initiated. This one really was crafted by people in the community through community meetings and the polling that we did,” Meadows stated.

To break things down even further, Meadows says the income tax would generate nearly $5-million for the city on an annual basis.

And as far as how much workers would pay…

“Residents will pay a 1% tax and non-residents pay a .5%,” Meadows stated.

Meadows says this income tax is crucial to help the city climb out of its financial crisis, otherwise…

“If the general fund is cut in half which is basically what would happen, we’d basically have to close down the city,” said Meadows.

But some residents oppose the tax, including Donald Power who says the city needs to shape up and find another solution to their financial problems.

“Until the city decides to change the behavior that led to this, I’m not about to in effect support an income tax,” said Power.

East Lansing voters can expect to see this issue on Tuesday’s ballot next week. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on what’s decided.

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