Dan Onorato was courageous enough to join widow-maker Marty Griffin on KDKA radio. He even fielded some phone calls.
Onorato intends to levy new taxes in order to keep mass transit functioning. A caller named Bill asked:
Why can't they tax the UPMC's, and the Pitt Universities, and all the non-profits that get all the city services for nothing -- get a little bit of money out of them, and make that 25 million or 30 million that they need -- instead of letting them guys declare gigantic bonuses for each other?
The answer is simple -- I'm not allowed. Heh heh. There's no legal authority for me to do that.
When pressed a little by the host, Onorato did volunteer that they are "looking at" asking them to help with providing health care for the prison system -- but of course we ask them a lot of things.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
1) We may not be able to tax them -- but through our planning commission and our zoning board -- we can make it damnably hard for them to get so much as a doghouse approved for construction. That is, unless they make with the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, and toot sweet.
That's the kind of hardball they play in Boston. People seem to really like Boston. It has a good economy and good services. Pittsburghers are always moving there.
2) As long as we are out there agitating for a state-wide pensions fix, we may as well address the related issue of amending Act 55: The Institutions for Purely Public Charity Act.
We owe it to ourselves to reconsider what really ought to qualify as a "purely public" charity, don't you think?