Friday, June 5, 2009

The Next G20: Not Really Excited About This

I've been meaning to address this, and I finally remembered to. Some days it's hard enough to remember my own name.

Last week, it was announced that the next G20 will be held in my beloved home, Pittsburgh. Obama, in his announcement, said that da 'burgh was chosen because the city has recovered from economic adversity to become a city with world-class industry. Here goes my rant.

Yes, Pittsburgh has gone from a major economic center of industry, fallen, and bounced back. Part of this was due to the hard-working people in this area. This is still an area where hard work is lauded and those who choose to live off the government dole are frowned upon. Children often go into the line of work their parents are in. The great citizens of this city are not afraid to get their hands dirty, including women.

We are a city with one of the very best medical communities in the world, a distinction that began with the creation of the Salk polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh. People come from all over the world with their children to have ground-breaking procedures performed at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I haven't heard of them taking their kids to any country with socialized medicine.

Mr. Messiah seemed to paint the picture that we are what we are in Pittsburgh because of what local government has done. Let me explain what local government has done to this region.

Allegheny County has a 7% sales tax. This is a full point above the state sales tax. And this tax will travel with you on major purchases if you are a resident of the county. Want to buy a new car and think if you go to a neighboring county that you'll escape the 7% tax? Nope. You'll be paying an extra full point in sales tax than the guy who lives in the neighboring county.

Allegheny County recently passed a drink tax. This is a tax levied on EVERY mixed drink and draft served in the county. If it's poured, it's taxed. Some bar owners have bravely fought to get the tax repealed, and some have outright refused to pay it. Guess what? Here comes the strongarm from those at the City and County Building.

Property reassessments are a mess in the county. There seems to be no set standard for reassessment, and this has led to countless number of appeals by citizens who have seen their property taxes skyrocket. When people move out of the county and the properties left behind fall in disrepair, what do you think happens to the property value of those who remain? Yep. I'm sure there are instances of property assessments being more than what the property is truly worth. It's all about the taxes.

Want to attend a concert or sporting event in this city? You'll be paying an entertainment tax. I kid you not. Someone in local government has figured out a way to tax having fun.

While the above issues have caused much debate here, there are some things that are a must-do should you ever visit here. Here's my suggested list:

  • Take in a Steeler game (if you can get tickets). This is an experience like no other. Steeler fans share a certain comraderie. I have high-fived and hugged many strangers after a TD.
  • Go to a concert by either one of two acts (both if possible): The Clarks or Donnie Iris and the Cruisers.
  • Go out on the observation deck on Mount Washington on a warm summer night. Breathtaking.
  • Ride the incline
  • Drive into the city on either the Parkway West, East, or North. The way the city skyline just appears from around the hillsides is still one of the things I look forward to when I travel into the heart of the city.
  • Take a ride on the Gateway Clipper river fleet.
  • Visit Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Open all year except for Christmas.
  • Go to Primanti Bros. in the Strip District for a sammich with coleslaw and fries...ON THE SANDWICH. Wash it down with a yard of Iron City beer.
  • Park your car on Carson Street and walk. This section of the city has undergone a revitalization and is lined with clubs, cafes, and various stores. Should you decide to visit a tattoo parlor while on Carson Street, I recommend Southside Tattoo. I've had two there, and they are tops.
If you decide to visit the great city of Pittsburgh, I suggest you avoid the days of September 24-25. We'll be hosting those who would love to tax this country into oblivion. We're about halfway there.


Bungalow Bill said...

Organize a tea party like St. Louis did during Obama's last visit. Protest Obama's outrageous spending and borrowing in front of many who are concerned internationallly about the realities of his fiscal irresponsibility.

blackandgoldfan said...

I'm sure that is already in the works. There are plenty of people here who are sick and tired of being taxed out the wazoo.