Monday, November 09, 2009

Tonight's Episode: "Brain Pain" or "Taxing your Knowledge"

So by now, you've heard about this:

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl plans to propose a 1 percent college-education privilege tax to council today, in a move that's likely to set off a fight with the city's schools of higher learning.

College and university representatives met with the mayor on Wednesday and argued against the tax, which would be assessed on a college student's tuition. It technically would not be a levy on the students or their schools, but rather on the privilege of getting a higher education in Pittsburgh.
A ballsy move for the kicker from Washington & Jefferson College, I must say. Now, the administration is saying that they're using this as a way to bridge the gap in lieu of the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund from local non-profits, but I know better. This is political retribution.

You see, back in 2008, a whole shit load of young, college people registered to vote for Obama and most of them chose to be registered in Oakland. Of course, these are your rank-and-file Democrats we're talking about: they're generally leftish folk, who have more in common with professors in Squirrel Hill than (say) a courier service account manager from the North Side. Based on a report from Pitt's University Center for Pulling Numbers Out of My Butt (UCPNOMB), these kids voted overwhelming against Ravenstahl last week. If these trend continue, you're just going to have more and more "smart" people that don't know their damned place and vote the party ticket, already. That has to be stopped.

Why would Ravenstahl throw this tax on students, other than punishing them for voting for -- God help them -- Bill Peduto? Simple, really: in four years (or seven if you're still working on your PhD in Sociology because you're friggin' thesis advisor won't even meet with you anymore as she's on "sabbatical" down at Cappy's every night -- stupid tenure) you're going to vote in maybe one election. In four years, it's going to be a different crew of students who won't notice that their $40,000/year bill has gone up another $400.

And it's not like CMU's going to up and move to California, or Australia, or Qatar or something, amiright?

Still, it's a pretty shifty thing to do after we spent the last four months trumpeting our commitment to "Eds and Meds" in front of the world. Lord knows that if the City started taking a big bite out of union benefits, the Mayor would have been taped upside down to a flag pole with his underwear glued to his head.

Actually, I think CMU has a robot that can do that; Lukey better not venture past Craig Street.


NutellaonToast said...

I think he's just pissed he's not skinny enough to drive a buggy.

So back in 2004, I encountered the first encouraging political spectacle of my young life when the students turned out in droves to vote against Bush. The polling station that covered CMU had lines out the wazoo. I think it was a record turnout. Did that happen again for Obama?

kittens not kids said...

Yes. There was massive turnout for Obama, at least among Pitt students.

I think this tax on students is horseshit on a stick.

fester said...

or the other way to look at this is that this is a tax on price insensitive goods (higher education) and the distributional aspects are only nasty and not horrendous as college grads are projected to earn good money in another state/MSA later.

I still vote for a beatdown on Peduto's allies who won't vote in an off-year primary even if there were multiple kegs in the polling station and the keepers of the kegs were not checking IDs.