It's now up to Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council. The leaders of the colleges and universities in the city have rejected the mayor's ultimatum regarding his proposed 1% college tuition tax.
Ravenstahl had said if the colleges and universities agreed to contribute $5 million a year for 5 years to the city, then that would negate the need for what Ravenstahl calls the "Fair Share Tax." He said Thursday if he doesn't hear from them by Monday, the mayor will urge City Council to approve the tuition tax. Council has twice delayed a vote for a week to allow for further discussions.
Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty says they gave the mayor their answer today...."There was no point to wait for a deadline to respond to a do it or else attitude."
Dougherty says the mayor's proposed tax is illegal and if council approves it, the issue will probably end up in court. He says that whether it's a 1% tuition tax or pressured payments by the universities in lieu of taxes it still becomes the students' problem..."We (Duquesne) get 80 to 85% of our revenue from student tuition, so whatever Duquesne would pay (contributions in lieu of taxes), 80 to 85% would go on the tuition bills of students"
Dougherty says the mayor is trying to breach a "conceptual barrier" and if approved, the tax could increase to 2% and then 3%.