Thursday, March 4, 2010
About 20 elected officials, business leaders and non-profit heads gathered in Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s office Thursday morning to continue their conversation about helping to plug the holes in the city’s financial ship. The group is looking to find $15 million in new revenue for the city. This is the second meeting of the New Pittsburgh Coalition. It sprang out of last year’s debate over taxing college tuition bills. Ravenstahl says he has his ideas as to what the best solution may be but he concedes lawmakers in Harrisburg will make the ultimate decision. Several members of the Pittsburgh delegation took part in the meeting and Ravenstahl says he will travel to Harrisburg March 22nd to meet with all four caucuses to talk about long term solutions. He says he hopes to have a final “ask” put together by June. Ravenstahl seems to be leaning toward some sort of pension reform but he says other ideas remain on the table. Among those ideas is increasing the in the $52 local services tax to $144 and extending the payroll preparation tax to nonprofit groups. Ravenstahl says along with batting around ideas at the meeting the city tried to show that it was doing everything it can to right its financial ship on its own, but he says the city needs help.