Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Die Walküravenstähl

In a move that was almost as unsurprising as the Mon Wharf flooding because of heavy rains, Auditor General Jack Wagner came out today against the proposed Tuition Tax.

"What we're really doing is asking a select group of people to fund a specific entity of government -- in this case, pensions," said Mr. Wagner, whose office audits municipal pension funds. "It makes colleges in the city of Pittsburgh a little bit uncompetitive in comparison to their counterparts."

Mr. Wagner said it's a particularly bad time for a new tax.

"People are hurting. No matter where you go in Pennsylvania, the average person is doing everything they can to reduce expenses. It is not a time to increase taxes."
Now, when you're a cynic it's hard to see this move as anything but cynical but...

Well, let me first step back and lay my cards on the table: I agree with the Auditor General that this tax is a bad idea as it, (1) Taxes a population that does not necessarily have representation in the City or the State, (2) taxes a population that is generally low-income, and (3) taxes, of all things, the ability of a person to get an education. Now, as I was once a poor college student, I do remember long nights of nothing to eat but Ramen noodles because I was too broke to afford anything else (including beer), so I can identify with the monetary burden this imposes. I also find it ironic that with one hand the Mayor is touting the Pittsburgh Promise while with the other hand is trying to grab cash from the universities.

Well, maybe that's not ironic -- in any case, back to the cynicism...

I'm going to wager that the Ravenstahls and the Wagners are not good friends (call it a hunch). I'm also going to wager that Jack getting his digs in at the Mayor is going to win him some points with suburban, progressive, and student voters in the race for governor. I'll further wager that a calculated strike at Ravenstahl is a hit also at one of Wagner's opponents and Luke ally, Dan Onorato, CPA. I'd also wager that this kind of issue is a big enough that it can make news ripples across the Commonwealth, much like Tom Corbett's ongoing State Bonus Investigation.

So, I really can't comment on story without sounding cynical, even though I am, but I'm not trying to be.

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