Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday News Selection

Pittsburgh's planning commission will forge ahead with approvals needed for the proposed Majestic Star Casino, despite objections the Pirates and Steelers voiced at a public hearing yesterday. (Rich Lord, P-G)

As soon as the Majestic Star settled its beef with the Science Center, it got license to run the table.

Which is fine by the Comet; we are not bursting with sympathy for the Steelers and Pirates.

However, as a matter of due process, this is a little troubling:

Commission Chair Wrenna Watson said she spoke with acting city Solicitor George Specter. "We are to move forward, unless we have some sort of order of court," she said. That means an Aug. 7 vote.

##

PA State Rep Cheslea Wagner (D-Brookline) comes out swinging in a P-G op-ed against Dan Onorato's plan to fund mass transit with drink taxes and car rental taxes -- for Allegheny County.

Some of my colleagues have likened this new tax to one that exists in Philadelphia, proposing that "if Philadelphia has a 10 percent drink tax, why not Pittsburgh?" My response is simple: What's right for Philadelphia is not necessarily right for Pittsburgh. The fact that Philadelphia has a drink tax is no excuse to lay the same burden on our businesses.

That's a fair start, Wagner, but you might as well start thumping Dan-O with geese -- and with gifts.

##

Trib columnist Eric Heyl releases his own Ravenspeak lexicon. Example:

Yellow journalism (very bad noun) -- Any news report or opinion piece depicting the mayor as possibly less than dashing or dynamic, or implying that he can be evasive, misleading or ethically suspect. (Example: This column).

Editorial Comment: One of us! One of us! One of us!

8 comments:

  1. Chelsea Wagner’s piece seems a bit myopic. Other counties do not have new taxes because they don’t have our transit system. And the county needs to raise funds to receive new state money that requires matching funds. Maybe the county has a surplus, I haven’t paid that much attention. But it looks to me like a state legislator is opposing the means for the county to get state money to save transit for this year. Yes, PAT is in desperate need of reform, but we need some breathing room or PAT will cut its own throat by cutting a quarter of its routes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If they really gave Pittsburgh the same taxing authority as Philadephia has, we would have a wage tax on on workers regardless of where they live.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This smacks of the on-going family feud between Dan Onorato and Jack Wagner!!!

    PITY!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Re: the drink tax:

    1. All the bill did was give the county council the authority to impose the drink tax. It is by no means a certainty at this point.
    2. Technically, she may be right that the process for sticking the drink tax proposal into the budget bill was similar to the pay raise, but it seemed that this was made public weeks before the vote, and opponents had plenty of time to marshal their opposition
    3. Unless you actually live near the county border, who is going to drive to another county because of the drink tax? That’s absurd.
    4. If people make less money here than in Philly, prices are probably lower as well, so the tax will have no greater impact here than there.
    5. There is no constitutional right to cheap booze, as often I wished there was when I was in college.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Save Our TransitJuly 25, 2007 at 2:28 PM

    Bar patrons can avoid this tax by drinking less or drinking at home.
    In either scenario, bar owners lose. Pete Wagner owns a bar. Pete is Chelsa's dad. Hmm...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bar owners are people too.

    Let's not forget about folks who crossing county lines going IN to Allegheny County, for a nice smoke-free dinner and a few drinks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just marked my calendar. I actually agree with the Admiral on this one.

    As far as the comments above that this legislation was transparent? What a joke. How can you attach a wage tax that effects only (1) County of the Commonwealth to a bill that funds transportation across the state? I personally think this should have been a referendum question on the ballot? (the drink tax) - If the residents are willing to pay it - then so be it. Any of our parlimentarians out there have any opinion on the legality of a referendum to impose such a tax?


    And finally if Dan Onorato's Port Authority management and Board can NOT run the Authority in the black, then the State should step in and take control. If this was a school district rather than a transportation agency, the State would have taken it over years ago!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oops! We're not talking about the smoking ban. What I meant to say was, those folks from Butler will be crossing the boarder to buy 10% pricier drinks, and enjoy that ... great ... Allegheny County atmosphere.

    You know what I mean. Boarder crossings happen.

    ReplyDelete