1. Income tax, property tax, and sales tax are not sin taxes. Don't we still tax text books?
'Councilman William Peduto took the same tack, saying that taxes are often placed on "sin" products, like alcohol or tobacco -- but not on self-improvement. "Why would we ever tax education, where somebody is trying to better themselves?" he asked.'2. College students are not the only ones who pay the drink tax. Many, many non-college students visit the many bars and restaurants throughout the county and share this burden. It is also important to mention here that the aforementioned drink tax is a county tax.
"Let's face it, we [college students] are the ones that pay the drink tax"- graduate student, Mackenzie Farone
If you owe income tax to the city of Pittsburgh, you can deduct the amount you paid on your tuition tax against your income tax. This would serve city residents in two ways. First, it would prevent any ridiculous double-taxing and calm fears of anyone working their way through college while living in the city that they will be taken advantage of. Second, it might encourage city dwellers to take a class at a local university with the inherent 1% discount. Not much of a discount, you say? Not much of a tax, I say, but every little bit helps.
No one wants to pay taxes, but the city is desperately running out of money and is running out of methods they can use to tax because of antiquated state laws. The city would love to tax non-residents who work in the city, like New York City and many other cities, but the state of Pennsylvania won't allow it. The city would love to slap a property tax on non-profit buildings, but once again the state won't allow it. Heck. The state will probably crack down on this tax as well, but the city has to keep trying to come up with innovative solutions in a hostile environment.
What can I say? I love this city, and I don't want it to run out of money. I want to keep all of our libraries open. I want our roads to be paved and our trash to be collected, and most importantly I want all the police officers and other city workers who have put their time in over the years, to continue to have their pensions paid. So if we need to come up with creative taxes that don't further stress our residents, I'm for it. Because when it comes down to it, if it's a choice between me paying 4% on my income tax or the college students coughing up another 1% on their $50,000 per year education, you're not going to find too many residents (who also manage to pay property taxes and income taxes and county taxes and state taxes) shedding a tear for the college students.
Can someone actually figure out if this tax is legal or not, so we don't have to waste any more time debating it?