Raising Taxes Won't Fill Lansing Budget Gap

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Looking forward, Lansing is facing an $11 million shortfall for the fiscal year starting July 1st, 2013. At this point, there's no clear answer as to how to balance spending cuts and new revenue. When asked whether they're willing to go to citizens for more money, some council members say it won't do the city any good.

"If we raise the millage, we are at our absolute cap and I don't think that's a wise choice at this time," said Lansing City Councilmember Jody Washington.

"It's a very bad thing for the city financially or fiscally to do that," said Lansing City Council President Brian Jeffries.

Lansing is only about 0.5 mill away from the 20-mill cap, meaning there's not a lot of room to raise property taxes. As for income tax, the city is already at the limit set by the legislature -- 1% for those living in the city and 1/2% for those living outside.

Other council members say everything is on the table, though the decision to hike up taxes won't be an easy one to make.

"We are beginning to affect our credit rating so we certainly won't take it lightly either way we go with it but that will definitely be something we have as a part of our deliberations and discussions," said Lansing City Councilmember A'Lynne Robinson.

However, according to Mayor Virg Bernero, taxes won't fill the projected budget gap. It'll likely come down to painful cuts and in the long term, fixing what he calls a broken system.

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