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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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read more →

Helpful Election Information // Alice Dreger

East Lansing Info (ELi) provides nonprofit, nonpartisan news and information for East Lansing. A major part of that service is providing information and investigative reporting about elections for voters in East Lansing.

Jessy Gregg and I have produced a comprehensive nonpartisan voter guide on the income tax proposal, with substantial help from Chris Root. You can read that here:
https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/elis-voter-guide-income-tax

Additionally, Chris Root has provided an in-depth look at the Ingham County jail and justice millage, published here:
Read more →

Landmark: Deja Vu All Over Again // Eliot Singer

Public-private development in East Lansing is simple. Promise something to get lucrative tax breaks and bond financing. Then build what is most profitable, high priced student apartments and late night bars, which could have been built without tax giveaways or subsidized parking structures. Developers are never held accountable for bait and switch. No one is ever fired for aiding and abetting.

Next shoe to fall is the senior housing with the deck for the old folks with the Trump dye-jobs.

Read more →

It’s official – the Landmark is “purpose-built student housing” // Alice Dreger

Landmark East Lansing - Student Housing!

The Center City District project was sold during East Lansing’s planning approval process as a project that would bring “market-rate rental housing” downtown. The claim by the project’s proponents was that the 12-story apartment building along Grand River Avenue would attract – in addition to MSU students – working adults whose downtown residency would in turn diversify retail and dining opportunities downtown.

The developer even produced a study purporting to support this claim, presenting it to East Lansing’s Planning Commission and … Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Phil Bellfy

Reply to Ruth Beier:

There is no nice way to say this, but it is simply not true that​ “the property owners gave up valuable property so that the sidewalk could be widened to improve pedestrian safety.”

Number 1:  The sidewalk was not “widened to improve pedestrian safety.”​ Please look at the attached email which lays out the City’s rationale for replacing the retaining wall.  Here’s the relevant part of that email, and it should be noted that this is … Read more →

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