Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuition's Own

Our moment of clarity today comes from Harold D. Miller, with regards to the tuition tax:

[O]ver 70% of the people who work at a job located in the City of Pittsburgh don’t live in the City. That’s one of the highest percentages of any major city in the country. In Philadelphia, only 42% of the people who work in the City don’t live there. In cities like Charlotte, Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and San Francisco, fewer than 60% of the jobs are filled by suburban commuters.

The reason so many people who work in the City of Pittsburgh live somewhere else is because Pittsburgh, with only 55.6 square miles of land area, is one of the smallest major cities in the nation. In most regions, places as close as Ben Avon, Edgewood, Fox Chapel, Mt. Lebanon, and Upper St. Clair would be part of the City, not separate municipalities...

In contrast, most college students aren’t commuters, but residents of the City of Pittsburgh. In fact, more than 1 out of every 7 residents of the City of Pittsburgh is in college or graduate school. Many of them own homes and pay property taxes to the City, while others rent apartments and enable their landlords to pay property taxes. Many of them work while attending school to help pay tuition as well as living expenses, and as residents, they pay income taxes to the City on their earnings...
So, what Harold is saying is that a hell of a lot of people that actually *use* city services aren't really being taxed by the City, while a sizable cohort that's already being taxed is about to be taxed more. And of course, the logical conclusion:
The only way to avoid things like City tuition taxes and County drink taxes is for the Governor and Pennsylvania General Assembly to modernize local government tax structures and create revenue-sharing programs that enable regional public services to be supported by everyone who benefits from them...
Of course, that ain't gonna happen any time soon. Any proposal of revenue sharing (read: "tax") or commuter tax (read: "fifth horseman of the apocalypse") will be voted down by suburban legislators who both want to keep their jobs and don't really give a damn about the City anyway -- unless they can find some way to get themselves in power.

So, the logical conclusion is either that (a) the Mayor lacks the necessary cajones to actively and aggressively petition for some sort of intermunicipal revenue sharing plan or consolidation, (b) the Mayor lacks the political influence in Harrisburg to get anything like this passed, or (c) this is a desperate game of chicken with the state legislature in which the college students are innocent bystanders.

If C... well... I'm not sure that the Legislature actually knows that the Mayor is playing chicken. He may need to let them know, as he's in a pimped out Geo Metro and they're in a dumb ol' Hummer.

3 comments:

Shred said...

Come on stick it too em. Lukey's found a way to tap into the bank accounts of the students parents. It's the freakin mother load of revenue streams! 1% is just a good start that's just getting your foot in the door, the possibilities are endless. Now I'm sure that one 1% pales in comparison to what students pay for all those parking tickets, fines and money to get that gd boot off their car. I love cruising through the Oakland and counting how many you can spot. Every time you see one... ka ching $$$ that's another $300 revenue for the city Yeaaah!! And that street sweeper racket they got going is genius. Half the already over crowded parking in Oakland gone in one day! That means you get to ticket half the cars in Oakland ka ching $$$ !!!! I think they should change the street sweeping schedule from once a month to every day. That's alone could meet the budget shortfall.

Heritage Health Foundation, inc. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RonGaydos said...

Maybe it will be like the fall of the iron curtain, when it just started to make sense to drop it and stop being such nasty and deluded governors of people.

No major city in the US is even close to making it that doesn't have at least three times the area of Pittsburgh. Harold's referenced burgs have 286, 234, 365, 97, and 231 square miles, respectively. That's compared to Pittsburgh's quaint 58.