East Lansing community votes on income tax

The City of East Lansing held its meeting for the 2018 East Lansing Income Tax Ballot Proposal on June 20 at the East Lansing Public Library. City Manager stressed the urgent need for this tax because of multiple financial difficulties the city is experiencing. Some community members expressed worries about the proposed tax, and city official highlighted the need for more community input and turnout at the voting booth. Voting for the policy begins Aug. 7.

State experts debate impact of income-tax proposals

Capital News Service
LANSING — It’s still unclear how bills to eliminate the state income tax might affect Michigan’s economy, and experts disagree on whether the proposals will help or hurt businesses and communities. “If it were eliminated with no replacement, that would be catastrophic, I believe,” says Charles Ballard, an  economics professor at Michigan State University and an expert on the state’s economy and tax system. According to Ballard, the state income tax keeps Michigan’s revenue system from being more regressive. If the income tax were eliminated and replaced with an increased sales tax, lower-income people would spend a higher proportion of their incomes on taxes. The system would “shift the tax burden” away from the wealthy.

Income tax proposal could hurt community colleges

Capital News Service
LANSING — Things were different in the 20th century. Back then, there were all sorts of trade jobs available to high school graduates who just needed some extra training, and those careers were especially abundant in the thriving Michigan manufacturing sector. Finish up school, learn the craft and trickle into the workforce -– that was the course for a happy middle-class existence. But, for most people, it isn’t like that anymore. “Michigan’s still a very heavily manufacturing-based economy.

Clock is ticking on dark stores

Capital News Service
LANSING — A delay in changing the tax math for big-box stores could cost local governments big bucks for generations, say supporters of a bill that would stop the stores from claiming big tax breaks. “That’s the really scary thing,” said Greg Seppanen, a former Marquette County commissioner fighting low tax assessments as part of the county’s Citizens for Fair Share. The Michigan Tax Tribunal hears appeals from taxpayers who think their municipality has over-assessed the value of their property. In 2013, the tribunal agreed with a big-box store that said the value of its property had more to do with their business and less to do with property characteristics. This ushered in a wave of big-box stores demanding tax breaks and pointing to vacant big-box stores  as evidence that local governments were overcharging them.

Low-income families need tax cuts too, advocates say

Capital News Services
LANSING – As the federal government debates whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy,some experts say tax cuts should be available even to low-income people. Judy Putnam, press officer of the Michigan League of Human Services, says it’s commonly accepted by the federal government that low-income people do not pay taxes. “This is simply not true. Everybody is contributing their fair share,” she said. The organization’s new report, “Got Skin in the Game?” argues that low-income households in need of government assistance do, in fact, pay taxes.