Luke Ravenstahl, who became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city after the death of Bob O'Connor, is showing his typical Democrat tax-loving side by proposing a one-percent tax on higher education tuition within the city of Pittsburgh citing a gap in the city's pension fund for next year. The proposed tuition tax is estimated to generate $16 million a year with $15 million going to the pension fund and the other $1 million going to help fund Carnegie Library.
Those of us who have lived in this area all our lives knew that there would be a tax increase or a new tax after Ravenstahl won election recently, but this one blindsided us. Making citizens pay for all kinds of stuff seems to be a common theme in da 'burgh, but never would I have guessed that a tax on tuition was on the table.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"They weren't pleased to hear that this was an option we were pursuing," Mr. Ravenstahl said. But he said he is ready for "a fight, or a battle, if you will," if that's what it takes to plug a $15 million gap in his 2010 budget and help the struggling Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
"We don't believe that [1 percent] is too burdensome on college students," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "The city taxpayers are paying for the services that are provided to those college students," including police, building inspection and fire service, he said. "The students have a role to play."
Pittsburgh is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the country. Pitt's medical program and Carnegie-Mellon's computer and engineering programs are of the caliber that leaves high school seniors across the country crossing their fingers in hopes of being accepted. Should this measure pass, why should students come to this great city and spend their money here if they're going to be taxed? Way to go, Mr. Mayor!!! Wienie.
Some time ago, Pittsburgh passed a tax on poured alcoholic drinks to help pay for the city's overpriced and overrated transit authority. The Dems screamed about how this tax was necessary to make the authority run like a well-oiled machine. Guess what? The transit service within the city still sucks. Every year, the announcement is made that they need to cut back on services and routes to stay within budget. The question remains: Where is the tax money going?
When the issue of new sports venues came to light, the voters of Pittsburgh were able to express their willingness to help fund new parks for the Pirates and Steelers (who just spanked the Broncos; WOO HOO!) at the ballot box. The referendum was a resounding "no" by the voters. They were not willing to forsake Three Rivers Stadium for new stadia, but guess what? City and county officials decided that the voters must be wrong, and the result was PNC Park and Heinz Field. Granted, they're nice parks, but what happened to the voice of the people?
While local government officials are partially to blame for even proposing such a measure to further burden usually struggling college students, the other part of the blame lies with the voters who keep electing this type of politician. You'd think the residents of the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County would've learned by now, but no. They robotically walk into the voting booth and vote "D" every time. What's it going to take for them to wake up? My guess is that if they haven't come around by now, they never will.
Turn away from the dark side, Luke.