Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday: Anticipating Arguments

Dan Onorato is glad that at least Judge Olson allowed him to use the money on capital improvements and debt service for the Port Authority; she didn't forbid him from spending it on anything besides Port Authority operating expenses, like Kevin Joyce wanted.

So she actually gave him some "leeway", provided a "roadmap", split it "down the middle". (P-G, Michael Henninger)

Really? Was that in fact what the plaintiffs were arguing for? Could be.

So we're to call it a draw.


"Everybody has been speculating about how much Onorato has in the bank, and we just wanted to be able to report where we stood prior to the Feb. 3 filing deadline," she said. (Trib, Deborah Erdley)

You know, just by the way, in case anyone was wondering. Judge Olson can't tell anyone what to do with that money.

An odd number of search engines hits here of late for terms mentioning Judge Wettick in one form or another. I am just wondering when the State Supreme Court is going to rule on the county's appeal of Judge Wettick's ruling that threw out the base year assessment system currently in place.

Is a ruling getting closer? That would be state-wide news and many counties are already fretting over potential reassessments. (Null Space)

Got to imagine a loss (er, a draw) on this one would be expensive in more ways than one. According to my inexpert calculations, we can expect a ruling around February 9th or March 9th or thereabouts.


Allegheny County's drink tax dropped with the new year, but that doesn't mean customers are seeing lower bar tabs. (P-G, Dan Majors)

Hey, that's nothing. Virtually the exact same day the City lowered its parking tax, the owners of the lot at One Oxford Center jacked their rates from $15 to $16.

For decades we've been told that raising taxes reliably leads to higher prices and diminished economic vigor, while lowering taxes always benefits the consumer and the employer and the employed and the country.

Could we possibly be learning that it just isn't so? Maybe there are so many other factors which impact economic decision making that so long as certain truly onerous taxation thresholds are avoided, 5% here and 15% there and 25% somewhere else hardly ever make a difference -- except to governments that are struggling to provide services that markets can not.


Yes, Trib, it is extremely special. It's also curious how you're either the only ones who have this story or else still think it's important. The whole sordid flaming mess didn't make anyone else's list.

1 comment:

  1. Here a novel idea for Onorato that would eliminate any (perceived or actual) misdirection of the excess funds... Onorato COULD have requested County Council REDUCE the 2009 rate further from 7% to x% so that the "take" would wash out by 12/31/2009 OR leave it unspent just in case there's a shortfall in 2009... but, Noooooo.. like any other politician, he "spends" the money because, in his mind, he HAS to... the old "use it or lose it" mentality of politicians and bureaucrats.

    BTW, I agree with the Court decision... if the decision went any other way, that would open the possibility of funding other items and (no doubt) higher than needed drink taxes in the future. Give a politician the option of spending and the option of raising taxes to funds those expenses equals never-ending higher taxes. Guaranteed.