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Oct 31

Q4

Comments (0) 11:30 PM posted by admin |

Q4: Do tax-exempt institutions like Eastern Michigan University, the City’s largest employer of non-Ypsi residents, have an obligation to help contribute to the cost of providing City services from which they benefit? If so, is there any way other than an income tax for the City to be equitably compensated?

The law as it’s written today, does not require schools, universities, churches, and non-profits (among others) to pay property taxes.

As it stands today, the City receives a financial benefit from and due to Eastern Michigan University’s presence for services rendered in serveral different ways:

  • Through a formula used by the State, the City receives Act 289 funding for providing fire protection to EMU. As everyone knows, the State doesn’t fully fund the City per the formula. In years past, we’ve received as little as $120K. Last year we received $355K. For FYE 2008, we’ve conservatively budgeted for $265K even though our lobbyist predicted that we would see twice that amount.
  • The City receives state shared revenue payments that are comprised, in part, by sales tax collected by people eating in our restaurants, drinking in our bars, and shopping in our stores.
  • Anyone who works at EMU and drives a car helps with the revenue that Ypsilanti receives from the State in the form of Act 51 Gasoline Tax revenue.
  • The community also benefits from EMU because they are a destination stop that brings students, parents, and those attending any one of the hundreds of events that take place there.

More to the point, Eastern Michigan University is a State entity. The State legislature, of which we have representation in Lansing, created this system. To try and extract the pound of flesh from the employees and students of the university because the State doesn’t fund us is misguided at best.

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