First of all, it's not a 5-year plan if it depends on changing the state legislature. When is the last time the state legislature changed a law for the benefit of Pittsburgh? Has it ever happened? Yet, "many of its most controversial tenets couldn't happen without changes in state law that only the General Assembly can make."
4 Ways To Break The Law (by Act 47)
1. The Act 47 planners want the city to (currently illegally) not lower the parking tax this year. In 2007, the mayor smartly vetoed when the city council decided to keep the parking tax high, largely because it was against state law. But also because a 40% parking tax rate is ridiculously high.
2. Additionally, Act 47 are depending on major concessions from the fireman's and other city unions. Major concessions that are currently illegal in the state.
3. The Act 47 planners want the city to both tax non-profits (also currently illegal under state law) AND increase donations from non-profits. Not going to happen.
4. Another idea is asking the state to allow us to change the municipal services tax from $52 / year ( a pathetic pittance) to $145 / year. By the way, by state law, this $52 must currently be deducted evenly through paychecks throughout the year. Sounds like it costs more to implement than it currently collects.
So the state-mandated group is recommending time and again to change state law in a 290 page report. And doesn't have any other solutions for us. How about we cut the state budget by Act 47 planners this year?
But ultimately, this plan shows how the state has handicapped the city of Pittsburgh through years and years of enacting restrictive laws. Is it any surprise that the city is in a fiscal crisis when the city of Pittsburgh literally can't decide how much to tax people who work and live in the city? When they try to come up with creative and questionable ways around these limitations (i.e. raising the parking tax to 50%), the state once again puts the smack-down.
Since, I've been living in Pittsburgh, our glorious leaders Onorato and Ravenstahl have been making frequent trips to beg Harrisburg for solutions to their problems, and these requests have fallen on deaf ears. Do we have to file for bankruptcy before Harrisburg listens?