Thursday, December 10, 2009

Burgess Calls for a July 1 Start for Tuition Tax

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess says when it comes time to vote on the 1% tuition tax he will introduce an amendment to make the tax take effect July 1st rather than January 1st. He says the delay will give the universities, “one more bite of the apple” to come to an agreement on payments in lieu of taxes or PILOTS before the court battles begin. He says he will also call on the council to draft a letter to the universities asking them to enter into good faith negotiations to reach the agreements. Burgess says he does not want a deal with an amalgam of nonprofits where a final dollar amount is agreed upon but each institution’s commitment is hidden. Burgess is calling for individual deals with each university. He says he believes every council member would rather see PILOTS rather than the tuition tax so that is where the focus should be. Burgess believes that a July 1st implementation would take the focus off the city and place it on the schools. Burgess says, “If the students are taxed… it won’t be that ‘the mayor did this, the council did this.’ It will be that the universities have refused to share their great wealth and great resources with this great city.”

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