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Thursday, February 10,2011

What do you say?

An informal survey shows support for tax increases to close Lansing’s $15 million budget gap

by City Pulse
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero adamantly opposes tax increases as a means to fix the city’s $15 million budget gap. But if a sample of residents is any indication, he is out of touch with the electorate.

The administration won’t recommend a budget to the City Council until next month, so we hit the streets to ask 18 people how they would fix the budget. We broadly asked if they supported tax increases, cuts to services or a combination of the two. The results: Tax increases may not be so bad.


Of the 18 surveyed, 11 support a combination of tax increases and cuts to services; five wanted services cut and no increases to taxes; and two supported only tax increases.


We interviewed citizens from each ward and with varying age, educational and employment backgrounds. We made no attempts at being scientific. Only eight are included due to space limitations.


— Andy Balaskovitz


Interviews and photos by City Pulse interns Yang Zhang and Fiona Guo


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Perry Black


Age: 57


Address: 1611 Autumn Lane


Ward: 1


Income: $50,000


Occupation: Facilities manager


Education: College degree


Black supports across-the-board cuts to services from each department.














Liza Archer 


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Age: 36


Address: 2920 Mersey Lane


Ward: 3


Income: $25,000-$50,000


Occupation: Data match specialist for a financial institution


Education: High school diploma; attended some college classes


Archer supports income tax increases with no cuts to city services. “They have been cutting services — we don’t pay that much in taxes.”


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William McSweeney


Age: 27


Address: 2208 Forest Road


Ward: 2


Income: $25,000-$50,000


Occupation: Manager of a financial institute


Education: College degree


McSweeney favors income tax increases over cuts to services: “It won’t cost too much to fix the problem. We have already cut a lot services,” he said.


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Sylvia Alexander


Age: 58


Address: Unavailable


Ward: 3


Income: $85,000


Occupation: Retired state employee


Education: College degree


Alexander prefers a combination of tax increases and cuts to services — specifically an increase in income taxes and cuts to mental health services. However, she “definitely” does not want to see cuts to the Police Department.


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Lola Martin


Age: 73


Address: 120 East Reasoner St.


Ward: 4


Income: $15,000


Occupation: Retired


Education: High school diploma


Martin supports cuts to mental health services and said the Fire Department could be scaled down. ““They overspend — they have to fix it,” she said.

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Dean Gillo


Age: 21


Address: 3204 Andrew Ave.


Ward: 4


Income: $15,000-$20,000


Occupation: Kroger employee


Education: High school diploma; some college


Gillo supports a combination of income tax increases and across-the-board cuts to services.


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Stephanie Carlisle


Age: 27


Address: 1511 Pattengill Ave.


Ward: 4


Income: $29,000


Occupation: Legislative aide in the Michigan House of Representatives


Education: College degree


Carlisle supports “all cuts, no tax increases,” specifically to mental health and public services. She said police and fire shouldn’t be cut at all.


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Aldina Sajtovic


Age: Unavailable


Address: Unavailable


Ward: 3


Income: Less than $25,000


Occupation: Caregiver


Education: College degree


Sajtovic supports hikes in property taxes and also cuts to police services.

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