The Mayor’s 2010 Budget-Time to Trim the Hog Fat!
To paraphrase an old axiom – Mayor Ravenstahl proposes and the state overseer committee disposes.
We’re referring, of course, to the mayor’s proposed budget for 2010 and its rejection by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. The I.C.A. is involved because of the city’s long troubled finances. The budget also needs the approval of city council and city controller.
In rejecting the mayor’s proposed budget of $454.8 million, the I.C.A. is questioning his unproven one percent tuition tax which the mayor says would provide $16 million to fill a gap in the budget.
The proposed tuition tax would be leveled on students at institutions of higher learning and trade schools. Needless to say, it has created a wave of opposition from colleges and universities and students alike.
The mayor’s budget was vetoed by the I.C.A. which pointed out that the controversial one percent tuition tax violated state law which specifies that cities are not permitted to impose taxes without state legislature approval.
Leaders of colleges and universities complain that the tax is illegal, unfair, unwise, and unenforceable…and their students feel they are unjustly being taxed.
The mayor, in defense of his position, states that these institutions and their students benefit from all the services provided by the city and they should pay their fair share.
The educational institutions at the college and university levels are tax exempt and they feel that the proposed post-secondary education privilege tax encroaches on the benefits they receive from their tax status.
It should be pointed out that there are 96,000 students who would be affected by the tuition tax.
In advancing his position, the mayor states that these institutions of higher learning continue to raise tuition and student fees and have no right to complain about the one percent tax.
In its veto, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority comes down hard on the tuition tax and says there are other ways of attaining the $16 million involved, including cutting out the pork in the city’s activities.
We have long opposed the one percent tuition tax over and above its being illegal. In our opinion, it’s also very shortsighted and self-defeating. So don’t threaten us with service cuts, Mr. Mayor and instead, cut out the pork. After all, it’s you and your
Robert W. Dickey
Broadcast: November 20, 21, 22, 2009
State Rep. Dom Costa from Stanton Heights, is introducing a bill that would create a state receivership to work in tandem with the state Public Utility Commission overseeing improvements at Pittsburg's troubled water and sewer authority. Like Act 47 they would approve budgets, set priorities and decide capital improvements to the system. However IMG Consultants, hired by the city to review PWSA, said that calls for state oversight is premature and could complicate financial maneuvers, with some residents preferring it be handled by local officials rather than under state supervision as was the case in Flint Michigan.
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