Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuition tax/ Pittsburgh Promise

From another post:

Mark Rauterkus said...
Do you think the Pgh Promise Board should suspend Mayor Ravenstahl from his ceremonial role there (with the Pgh Promise) in light of his new dream / promise to tax college tuition?

November 18, 2009 9:20 AM
Questioner said...
People shouldn't be suspended from or kept off of boards, committees, etc. based on their positions on issues. More problematic is when a board or committee member has a conflict. The mayor ran into this issue himself when he complained that the board evaluating his proposal to tax college students included current and former college administrators.

November 18, 2009 9:37 AM
Mark Rauterkus said...
Should I jump to the Nazi counterpoint (famous in internet discussions) now or later?

I just posted about no time like the present on my blog.

Here is the thing. We don't allow those that abuse children to take care of our kids. That is a protective measure, understood. part of conventional wisdom.

The tax on tuition, something that Luke defends and hatched himself, moves one way. That direction is at the polar opposite of where the Pgh Promise is moving. It is counter productive squared.

Help like that, we need to scorn and live without.

November 18, 2009 9:46 AM
Questioner said...
It's a little different from child abuse. Child abuse is not a position on an issue, and it is illegal. In addition, the mayor could argue that a tuition tax will in the long run be best for students by supporting a healthy city; the same could not be said for child abuse.

November 18, 2009 9:51 AM
Mark Rauterkus said...
It is different, of course.

But, the tuition tax is illegal as well.

The tax on students goes to support the retired city workers, not a healthy city. We rob from the young and give to the retired.

November 18, 2009 10:21 AM
Questioner said...
But, if new ways are not found to support retired city workers the money will come out of other city services. It would be better to present and debate alternatives than remove the mayor from boards.

November 18, 2009 11:06 AM
Mark Rauterkus said...
Luke is in the boat and rowing the wrong way.

The sins of yesterday need not be paid off with the dreams of tomorrow.

Rather than cut off the future, just don't pay the past. JUST being the big word there.

That is the discussion not being dealt with. Chapter 1 = patronage. Chapter 2 = money for nothing. Chapter 3 = winning elections and keeping power. Knock yourself out with those debates.

The only way Luke stays where he is and got where he arrived is because of the old guard.

GM had legacy costs too. PAST workers who got paid for nothing makes life impossible unless the gov comes to stimulate.

If I'm on the Pgh Promise board and Luke wants to make the job impossible, in spirt and in terms of real losses to the program, then I'd show him the door.

Luke's talking about $15M per year. The Pgh Promise was to build to $150M forever.

That means in a decade or so, the Pgh Promise is gone. They only churned. That's what I mean as counter productive squared.

November 18, 2009 11:24 AM
lisa said...
if there is going to be a tax on college students, then WHY is it not the same amount for each student? How does a CMU student use so much more in city services than a Pitt student? Making the tax 1 percent of tuition just fosters more anger towards the tax. The 52 dollar emergency services tax is annoying, but at least its the same for everyone.

November 19, 2009 4:46 PM
Anonymous said...
Note to Mark, you're mixing apples and oranges here. I'm no fan of Mr.Ravenstahl and less of a fan of his tax proposal, but this is no time to play politics. It's always about the money.
The issue shouldn't be confused, however. Someone has said that UPMC, its director and leadership should be the ones targeted first and foremost for taxes and I can only concur. One need only look at the monster which is UPMC to understand that health care overhauls are sorely needed.
Yet, 1% of annual tuition is not going to jeopardize the Promise.I abhor the tax idea, but let's be honest.

November 19, 2009 8:41 PM
Mark Rauterkus said...
I am being honest.

What is an apple and what is an organge to you? Prove something in the post.

$15M tax per year = sucked from college spending

Pittsburgh Promise = college spending

In its life, the Pgh Promise = $150M = 10 years of tuition tax.

Apples & apples. $ & tuition. Subtract 1. Add another = Minus wins before you (& Luke) know it.

Bottom line. The tuition tax deflates the Pgh Promise. Tuition tax will wipe the Pgh Promise away.

November 19, 2009 10:00 PM
Post a Comment


Questioner said...

The Pittsburgh Promise is supposed to reach $250 in contributions- 100M from UPMC and 150M from other donors.

The Pittsburgh Promise Report Card to the Community seems to say that 2.5M in scholarships were pd in the first year. When there are 4 years of Promise recipients (freshment thru senior) that would be 10M. So, if all students being taxed were from Pittsburgh the 15M tax would exceed the scholarships paid. But of course not everyone attending college in Pittsburgh is a Promise recipient...

Observer said...

But the point is that before long, the Promise is going to be providing kids $10K/year. I can appreciate the idea that someone has a political axe to grind, but the point is not pertinent to this discussion.
Again, I hate the idea of the tax. Once again, it screws the little guy and allows UPMC, among others, to fatten their wallets. But to say that this tax jeopardizes the Promise and its fund is simply erroneous. 1% of yearly tuition will be in the hundreds per student....not thousands.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Erroneous is saying something is erroneous but not providing reasons why. Got reason?

Axe to grind or axe to sharpen? Luke Ravenstahl used the Pgh Promise as a platform plank and huge political leverage with voters. He mentioned it in campaign lit and in debate statements as crowning achievements. Luke seemed to embrace the idea of the Pgh Promise (tuition $ to kids) for his peronal gain as now he is about tutition tax (cutting tuition $ for kids).

The danger for swinging the axe is greater with the one who swings, not a distant spectator.

Pgh Promise is to REACH $250M, but it is not there yet. Is $110M now in hand? I picked $150M to make a generalization. $15M per year and $150M makes for easy math (for my political friends sake). If Pgh Promise was fully loaded, 250/15M = 16+ years, not 10. So, in 16 years, 3 terms = Tom Murphy's stay on Grant Street, or until Luke is is 45. That's how long it would take to reduce the same value from local economy as Pgh Promise principle equity.

Ceremonial role keepers (such as Luke in his co-leadership of Pgh Promise) should stress careful attention to form and detail.

Questioner said...

Even if in the big picture the Pittsburgh Promise and the tuition tax zero eachother out, the effects of the Promise and tuition tax are not spread evenly. City residents on the whole get a benefit since the Promise is thousands per student and outweighs the tuition tax, while noncity residents pay the tax but don't get Promise money. It's a kind of net tax relief for city residents, funded by UMPC and other nonprofits. Would it have been more efficient and more equitable for UMPC to have just funded city infrastructure and made possible a reduction in the tax bills of city residents? Maybe.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Good points.

The conversation continues....

So, kids that go to school in Pittsburgh are not city residents. ?!?!?!?

I'd buy this logic (puching my new neighbor and me is okay as I've been paid off because I've been around longer) to a higher degree if we were able to tax those that go to Pitt Johnstown, Pitt Bradford and CMU in the middle east.

Everyone (who want bigger gov, are driven with greed, and crave selfish spenders) always loves taxing someone else. That is a popular tax.

That's the ticket! Memo to Luke Ravenstahl. Get the tuition tax to apply to branches of Pgh's based universities.

Pitt News report that Luke says tutition tax is last resort. Humm. He has yet to tax pre-schools and day care centers. He has yet to tax those getting out of jail. He has yet to tax childbirth. I can think of a few additional last resorts.

Have a good weekend.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Tip: keep an eye on for a long video (of poor quality) of last night's Excellece for All meeting at Schenley / Reizenstein with Mark Roosevelt speaking and taking questions on facilities.

Questioner said...

Please fill us in- were any questions of significance asked or answered?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Can't fill you in, other than to say the chicken was good. Had to depart. Will watch / listen to video later.

Video is in progress and on web server magic after being uploaded.

Observer said...

You know Mark, your logic again escapes me. That's nothing new, of course, but the numbers here simply don't make a great deal of sense, and again, that comes from someone opposed to the tax.

For the record, Pittsburgh is a democratic city and while it may provide comfort to believe that attaching himself to the Promise provided Ravenstahl with votes in the past election, such a commentary would be false. In fact, a democrat would truly have to go out of his way to lose a mayoral election. While there may be caveats to the dem domination in this town, 60 years or so of history does not lie.

Politics stopped being about elections and representation decades ago. Instead, the idea is all about money and power. That said, I continue to wonder not how the UPMC heads are not taxed commensurately but rather, how UPMC and fellow "non-profits" can "earn" $600 billion in one quarter and not be subject to some type of scrutiny by mayors or school chiefs. Aw well, perhaps one segment of the population will finally yelp when Schenley is sold to UPMC.I mean, how far off can that be? Does anyone care?