Tuesday, November 17, 2009
One of the two boards that have oversight control over Pittsburgh’s budget has rejected the mayor’s spending plan. The budget submitted by Luke Ravenstahl included a 1% tax on tuition paid to Pittsburgh colleges and universities. The members of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority felt that such a tax needs state approval before it can be implemented. Board Chair Barbara McNees says the vote was not a comment on the value of such a tax, just that the city was not able to levy it at this time. She says, by law, the city must present a budget that contains a revenue stream that is “predictable and legally enforceable.” The city must have that budget in place by December 31st. McNees says the board believes the Ravenstahl administration can find the needed cuts and revenue enhancements before the deadline. She says if the mayor can get the state to approve the new tax before the end of the year the board will reconsider the budget. The board will meet again after the mayor draws up a new spending plan. McNees says they ICA has an executive director and works closely with the ACT 47 team and will be able to evaluate any new proposal quickly. Ravenstahl made a rare personal appearance before the board today. McNees says she thinks board members sympathize with the mayor over his struggle to build a balanced budget but they must live up to their statutory guidelines.