Michigan State University canceled a special Board of Trustees meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday morning to discuss a last-ditch effort to keep a city income tax proposal off the East Lansing ballot. The proposal would tax people who live in the city at 1% while people who work there but live elsewhere would pay 0.5%. Michigan State negotiated with the city and even offered $20 million if the city would remove it from the ballot. Those talks failed and the tax will be voted on in November.
Michigan State released a statement saying, in part, "We are not unsympathetic to the city's financial circumstances. Regrettably though, we simply ran out of time with the ballot language deadline. We will continue to work in support of the long-term interests of the City of East Lansing and MSU. MSU needs and wants a vibrant home community."
A panel looking at the city's financial situation recommended an income tax as one way to help pay for $200 million in long-term pension and healthcare costs. Business groups asked the city to remove the proposal from the ballot before Tuesday's deadline. East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told that the proposed tax would not have a large impact on individuals and that people are free to vote it down if they don't want it.