Monthly Archives: December 2012

Pensions & Parking Linkage slipping, slipping…

The Australian; news.com.au

Everybody loves parking fo’ free! Several like the idea of the City staying in the black.

… [N]oting the need to generate additional revenue, council President Darlene Harris said she wants to return nighttime enforcement to the seven neighborhoods. At a budget hearing last week, Mrs. Harris told David Onorato, the authority’s executive director, to prepare for the additional hours.

However, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Bill Peduto, neither of whom attended the hearing, later said they would prefer to keep the citywide enforcement cutoff at 6 p.m. (P-G, Joe Smydo; h/t Chris Potter)

Bill Peduto’s June 2011 open letter (all things being equal) provides a fairly good historical review for beginners of how pension funding and parking rates came to be linked. There is a lot of disagreement over the precise method, but there was general agreement between those two individuals and much of Pittsburgh at that time that the public parking system needs to increase revenues for the sake of crushing pension obligations.

So now are we to understand we’re out of the woods?

Or do we have other, more grand solutions to the pensions crisis in mind — ones which will not include significantly increased parking revenue as a serious component? Pittsburgh awaits.

A word care of the liberal and excellent Keystone Politics:

TRON: Disney Movies Guide

BONUS CONTENT:  By popular demand, here is some good news care of Luke and Co.:

Mr. Ravenstahl, Google, the University of Pittsburgh and other partners today will announce plans for the “Steel City Codefest,” a competition to develop the coolest, most-useful apps for city residents, businesses and visitors…

The competition is an outgrowth of PowerUp Pittsburgh, his initiative to grow the city’s tech economy. (P-G, Joe Smydo, II)

The fact that Google’s offices lie in Bakery Square in Larimer underscores this event’s status for many as a Ravenstahl coup. For the record Peduto has also for some time cast himself as a hero of Bakery Square, though not of every decision made along the way.

Saturday Must-Reads: Pittsburgh Back from Great Recession; Pwned by Steelers Incorporated

shawshankredemption.org

A serendipitous time for two absolute must-read newspaper articles. Educate yourselves:

Firstly, the Pittsburgh metropolitan region has been discovered by a reputable research institution to be one of just three U.S. metro regions to have recovered from the international recession. Welcome, heartening news. Let’s hope some of that aggregate superiority trickles all the way down and around.

Many U.S. metro regions have not yet reached the milestone of recovery, especially in light of the global trend — a national concern.

A sobering prospect since even mighty Pittsburgh’s status as leader is in “structural” financial peril…

“Pittsburgh has turned the corner and is the national example of how to grow jobs and innovate. … But there is still much more work to be done to ensure that Pittsburgh grows even more jobs and remains America’s ‘most livable’ city for years to come,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

“More work to be done” includes the urban core accounting for pensions and health benefits, as well as infrastructure and equipment needs. Growth would have to be exponential in the absence of new revenue.

There is also an astute short treatise from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and special emphasis chosen by Mayor Rogero of Knoxville, TN. All contextual gemstones.

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steelersfanmx @ Steelers Fever

Now that you’re warmed up.. switch to Camera 2, the Tribune-Review, and have the camera pan to our fresh new historic North Shore:

The 30-year lease on the stadium, which opened in 2001 and is owned by the taxpayer-funded Sports & Exhibition Authority, called for $25 million payments every 10 years if tickets, payroll and other sales failed to increase annual tax revenue significantly from a baseline set in the late 1990s. A 1999 state law requires the Budget Office to examine team tax receipts and apply a multiplier to determine if those receipts exceed $25 million.
The review absolves the team of making a rent payment on top of the 5 percent ticket surcharge and 15 percent tax it pays to the SEA on revenue from non-sporting events at the stadium. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
This bonus subsidy, negotiated away in principle a decade ago, is an entirely new and separate issue from that of the Steelers’ ongoing lawsuit to get municipal authorities to pay for most of a major expansion at Heinz Field.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has said he supports the expansion and wants to find a way for the public to subsidize at least some of it. A spokeswoman said he was not available to discuss the tax credits. (Tribid)
Really? That seems like it would be a less popular position than a more direct, straight-line defense of taxpayers. Unless maybe it can be tied in with lower ticket prices, or ticket access hurdles…. a thought.
At any rate, this generous parlay only adds more kindling to the recent history of Steelers-City development relations which has been combustable and in steady supply.
To this latest chapter Boren introduces the concept of “outrageous multipliers” to meet the trigger for the bonus subsidy, and a timely recollection of the era of State Rep. Don Walko. Entire contents near-legendary quality. Read read read read read.