DRW Illegal Trading Litigation? // Eliot Singer

City Center II Rendering

I can find nothing recent about the CFTB litigation against DRW for illegal trading. Months ago there was an article commenting on how long the judge was taking.

I would not expect this to factor into East Lansing government decision making. Ever since the Meadows faction hired Staton as city manager and gave him bonuses for development, the city’s ethic has been: give us your crooks, deadbeats, and cronies yearning for a free ride.

MEDC however has a legal requirement that any litigation be … Read more →

Possible Settlement with City Center II Developer? // Eliot Singer

City Center II Rendering

From the latest ELi story on the Project Formerly Known As City Center II, it appears DRW, the big-league Chicago day-trader, is going to settle with the former developer, in order to put an end to litigation and get those $10 million legacy MBT credits and brownfield money.

The MBT credits and 2008 brownfield were assigned to the lender and there is no evidence they were ever returned to PDIG/CCTP in the Cuyahoga settlement. There is also no evidence the lender assigned the credits … Read more →

Latest Tax Giveaway for Project Formerly Known As City Center II // Eliot Singer

City Center II Rendering

1) Revelation that DRW/Convexity was going to ask for a brownfield waited until after the vote on income tax.

2) There will be no money to pay for public services for the project for the duration of the brownfield (which could have been spread out longer, at 50/50 tax increment, if any tax diversion is warranted). I see there has been another shooting in the Grove St. garage, and with reduced property tax millage, the contribution toward public safety from the DDA TIF district … Read more →

Income Tax Proposal and Election Results // Matt Kazmierski

The City of East Lansing’s income tax proposal on yesterday’s ballot passed with around 58% of voters voting “yes” (some other sources say as high as 61%). East Lansing Info was on top of the outcome late last night . ELi also has a short survey asking voters to explain their vote of “yes” or “no” on the income tax proposal.

Other general results include:

– A passing of the Ingham County ballot proposal for a new jail millage

– Gretchen Whitmer winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor of Michigan

– Bill … Read more →

Please Vote Today // Matt Kazmierski

This is a friendly reminder to be a responsible citizen, and vote in today’s primary election. In addition to the races, there are a couple of important ballot proposals for those in the East Lansing area.

Here are some helpful resources to prepare you for voting:

https://www.vote411.org/ – A very helpful voter guide, with information on candidates, ballot proposals, and polling place locations. Just enter your address in the left side bar, and go from there.

https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/ – Preview your ballot on the State … Read more →

Fiscal Options for East Lansing // Ron Fisher

I have already commented about the East Lansing tax proposal arguing that the imposition of a City income tax or an increase in the property tax are inherently limited as a solution to the City’s fiscal issues. The main point is that the City is relatively small and surrounded by similar suburban communities with essentially equivalent access to major employers, making it relatively easy for individuals and businesses to select locations outside the City.

The point of this comment is the City has … Read more →

Influence peddling and tax vote // Eliot Singer

Even after years of investigative reporting on East Lansing, I am amused by the report in ELi about big contributors to the yes campaign with reasons to influence city hall, including what is now hotter than development tax giveaways, peddling dope. (I’ve favored legalization since my hippie days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big players trying to get in to a profitable industry by greasing the skids. )

Normally business interests don’t like taxes, witness Chamber sayin no, but this is the only influence peddling game … Read more →

Consumption taxes vs Income taxes… // Dave Finet

I’d like to thank Mr Wolf for reinforcing my point with his informative email.  The difference between consumption taxes (as most of the taxes he mentioned ARE consumption taxes) and income taxes is EXACTLY the reason that some STATES don’t even collect income tax!

http://www.howmoneywalks.com/consumption-tax-vs-income-tax-why-more-states-are-opting-to-collect-consumption-taxes-only/

Consumption taxes are more progressive than income taxes and (in the East Lansing situation) don’t punish “non-residents” for East Lansing’s financial mismanagement and force them to pay for anyone else’s “quality of life”.

So, yes, compare all you’d like… but … Read more →

Smart Development, Cool City, No Income Tax // Matt Mitroka

While East Lansing may have limited options to increase property taxes, there is the option to raise more money via property taxes in the form of increased property values and reassessment at the time of sale. While there are the issues of potential bait and switch by developers, etc, there are also the issues that East Lansing seems to be afraid of student developments and increased urban density. Yes, previous eras of MSU students acted in ways that hurt the relationship between the City … Read more →

Service Solvency: An Analysis of Michigan Cities // Tali Faris-Hylen

Service Solvency: An Analysis of the Ability of Michigan Cities ....

I’ve read through this extensive piece put out by Robert Kleine, Interim Director and Mary Schulz, Associate Director Center for Local Government Finance and Policy Michigan State University Extension, and found it very informative given the financial situation East Lansing is in.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/235/75790/GMI_062_Service_Solvency_Report-9-2017.pdf

It addresses why cities like EL, that seem like truly vibrant communities in every way, have revenues far behind other communities. It specifically states how cities with per capita taxable value below $20,000 will struggle financially (East Lansing is $19,461). … Read more →

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