Evening Out the City Income Tax

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

22 cities in Michigan currently impose the city income tax. For most of them, people working and living in city limits pay an income tax rate of 1%, while those working but living outside of city limits pay half. Forking over extra is what some people say they're willing to do for working and living in the same city.

"As a resident here, there are some advantages we have of living here like police protection and what not and I'm happy to pay that extra half a percent," said Kris Young who works and lives in Lansing.

However, it's essential services like police and fire that Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, says is given to everyone working in the city and non-residents paying half of what residents pay simply doesn't add up.

"If you don't live in Lansing but work in Lansing, the services that we have to provide for you are costing more than the share you're providing in the city income tax," said Rep. Schor.

He's proposing to make some changes so that cities have the option of increasing the income tax rate on non-residents to match that of residents should the cities feel it's necessary. According to Rep. Schor, the alternative has become too much of a financial burden on local municipalities where residents are the ones picking up the slack.

"Like in Lansing we had a four-mill increase which went to roads, police and fire and the residents are paying for that," said Rep. Schor.

However, Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says the status quo is working well, while stirring it up could push people away.

"They could locate in a nearby township that doesn't have any income tax, so I think it's a bad idea for many reasons and I think we should leave it alone," said Sen. Jones.

According to Rep. Schor, the push for change comes after hearing suggestions from residents and local officials.


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  • by Taxed in Jax Location: Jackson on Jan 24, 2013 at 03:03 PM
    We live within the city of Jackson and pay 1% city income tax to Jackson and my wife also pays ½% to the city of Lansing because of where she works. That is OK, but I would like to question Rep. Schor’s math skills. A person that lives within the city gets 24 hour police and fire coverage. A person working within the city but living elsewhere only gets 8 hours of those same services. They get 1/3 of the service but pay ½ the price? It sounds like they are already over paying. That is unless you use the “vote potential quotient” in the formula. Those living outside of the city don’t get to vote for city officials so you can charge them any rate you want and they can’t vote you out of office. Like most politicians Rep. Schor is using figures to try and make raising taxes sound like a good think. As a politician he may be as good of a liar as the next one, but when it comes to math he can’t get it to add up. If you want to raise taxes just say so and do it. Don’t try to convince us that it is a good thing by using faulty math. GRRRR
  • by Steve Location: Dewitt on Jan 24, 2013 at 04:50 AM
    "Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says the status quo is working well" Read this as "Hey, those poor shleps in Lansing are paying to protect my butt, and I don't want to foot any of the bill myself". Another republican that wants the poor to pay but not the rich,,,really??
  • by Redrobin2591 on Jan 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM
    I used to work in Lansing, and then I lived and worked in Lansing. I moved, I live in Portage MI. I have the same services I had in Lansing, in fact more and better services and I pay no city income tax nor do people who come here to work. Bottom line Lansing is that you live off the state employees who work there. You try to keep as many state offices in Lansing as you can because it keeps your downtown going, If you moved government buildings and their occupants out of downtown you would have no Lansing or downtown business, The best news for any enployee who has to work in Lansing??? We are moving!!! That means no 125.00 per month parking and no income tax.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 23, 2013 at 07:36 AM
    So when a business comes into a city,they want tax breaks. But they will require more city services. But who is taxed to give those services? The workers of those businesses! Something doesn't add up here!
  • by David Location: Charlotte on Jan 23, 2013 at 07:11 AM
    I would like to point out that its a Dem. that wonts to raise the taxes and a Rep that thinks a bad idea and we all know that Dems are funded by unions so maybe there,s some push by city unions for Shor to do this ? RAISING TAXES IS ALWAYS A BAD IDEA
  • by Big E Location: Dimondale on Jan 23, 2013 at 07:06 AM
    Total Taxes paid per month for a family making $75,000 and living in a $100,000 home: Lansing: $280 East Lansing: $240 Holt: $200 Grand Ledge: $182 Mason: $189
  • by Name Location: Location on Jan 23, 2013 at 06:06 AM
    Sure, when you ask an individual if the someone else should pay more taxes, they say yes. If you ask me, Rep. Schor should pay 100% of the tax. Taxes are paid for services delivered, the more services, the more taxes. The City is delivering less services!?!?!?
  • by Jrhowosso Location: Owosso on Jan 23, 2013 at 03:50 AM
    Why don't they put up tool booths and collect a tax on everyone that comes to town to shop too?????? We need term limits and a hour clock with commensurate pay for Lawmakers.........!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 23, 2013 at 03:40 AM
    It is interesting have more citizens and more taxes coming in but they do less per citizen than most small townships and villages. These large cities need to take a conservative approach on running the city to make them run more effeicient. Another corelation is that all the cities that have EFM have city taxes.
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