Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Going out of business sale

Republican legislators tell Pittsburgh officials to stop playing games with fiscal reform. Among the tough-love solutions they propose, according to the Trib:

Pittsburgh must privatize city services, sell off its authorities' assets, charge residents a garbage collection fee and make deeper spending cuts before it receives the Legislature's approval for new tax revenue, five key Republican state lawmakers said Tuesday in a letter to the state-appointed oversight board.

Even then, the cash-strapped city must strive to lower taxes, not increase them, the lawmakers from Pittsburgh's suburbs say in the 18-page document, which they call a "blueprint" for the city's recovery. Half of any new revenue should go directly to paying down the city's massive debt, and all new taxes must be reviewed after two years.

Particularly welcome is the legislators' call to sell off the assests of the city's largely unaccountable and bloated authorities, especially the URA and the Stadium Authority, which was created to manage Three Rivers Stadium. You may not be aware of this, but THE STADIUM WAS IMPLODED THREE YEARS AGO.

More good news for Pittsburgh--Commonwealth Court has blocked the firefighters union's attempt to blackmail the city, through a bogus referendum, into keeping staffing levels unnecessarily high.


Blogger Cope said...

The scary part is that, outside of garbage fees, the Republicans solutions are things I have been bitching about since day one of my blog.

1:51 AM

Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

The liquidation of the authorities is something I greatly endorse and have said so in public many times. My blast of Jan 2005 was about the parking authority sell off. I ranted when bone headed moves to have free parking in downtown in Decembers was happening too -- years ago. The URA is bad news. It gotta go.

However, it can't go in a heartbeat. This, to do well, is going to take some time. To do it poorly, Pittsburgh is more ghost than town by next halloween.

I'd love to unravel these tangled messes. Part 2 on process.

9:25 AM

Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

To say the least, I was a little angry to read in the morning paper about an 18-page letter from five GOPers in our region. I asked Orie's office to send me the letter yesterday. Still nothing. And, to have them harp upon "cooperation" is beyond me.

I feel Pittsburgh is in much of the same position that Poland was in at the outset of WWII. To the west, Hitler and to the east, Stalin.

There is much to do.

9:28 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

When I was at the Trib, I was sent Downtown one Saturday to talk to people about whether the free Christmas-time parking was luring them to shop there. A few people said yes, but many said something telling: While they rarely shopped Downtown, they did enjoy going to the Strip District. One couple came every year from Wheeling. You ever try getting a parking spot in the Strip on a busy Saturday? It goes to show that you can't reproduce suburbia Downtown and expect people to come, but that people will come to the city for something unique. It also shows that the most vibrant and successful city neighborhoods are those that have been left relatively free of the hand of government-driven development efforts. This fiscal crisis could be the best thing to happen to Pittsburgh, if state politicians follow through and force the city to disband the URA.

9:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shhhhhhhh! If you keep talking like that, some bean counter at URA will think, hmmm, there isn't a parking garage at the Strip. And you know, we put in a lot of parking at the South Side Works, but we never did shit about the popular East Carson Street digs closer to downtown.

Why, we can't have the free market determining where people want to be! Somebody, build more parking on the North Side! And an Ampitheatre!

If you build it, they will come!

4:41 PM


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