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Old 12-08-2011, 08:23 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,040,699 times
Reputation: 2821
Quote:
Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
Nothing can be done with this situation.
Well, a variety of different things COULD be done. Whether they WILL be done is a political question.

Quote:
Do you think I want to move into the city with a 2% premium on wage?
A rational person would evaluate all the relevant considerations when deciding where to live, not just the wage tax. How that would work out in your individual situation is something I am not inclined to speculate about.

Quote:
Does that state law apply to the "drink tax"? The new tax on car rental?
No, just property taxes following a reassessment.

Quote:
That state law means nothing.
It means a reassessment won't trigger an automatic increase in total revenues. It also means a lot of individual people will be getting a cut in their property taxes.

I think you will find those people, once they realize their property taxes have been cut, won't agree it meant "nothing". Interestingly, for all I know you might be one of those people.

Quote:
That isn't going to change. Big government isn't working very well.
Well, it certainly won't change if people refuse to learn from what is actually working in other places, and rely instead on bumper sticker slogans.

Of course this fits my more general point. The ridiculous balkanization of governance in Allegheny County probably does create a lot of waste. But actually try to change that, and you immediately get opposition.

Again, it is easy to say "get rid of waste". Much harder to actually do it.

Quote:
How about Allegheny County Judges for example. Have a look at those sweet pensions.
Go ahead and then report back on how much money you are actually talking about.

Of course, I might note that some people believe attracting good people to be judges is important. So if you want to cut their pensions, you will have to figure out how to make sure they are still being adequately compensated overall. You'll also want to make sure to consult with a tax professional.

Quote:
which is evident with all the new taxes cropping up.
Again, this is all happening because the state and feds have cut their contributions to the County. I know this fact is inconvenient for those who want to claim the County is just spontaneously considering a tax increase for no good reason, but it is a fact nonetheless.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:23 AM
 
3,474 posts, read 2,022,791 times
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When the city/county were negotiating & budgeting those terrible legacy cost that they say plagues & binds them now I'm sure there were an equal number of people arguing back then that the budget has no room for cuts, the taxes are all necessary etc.

And no, you do not need to offset benefit cost cuts with increased salary, I'm sure you can slash all the crazy benefits like vehicles, parking, & even salaries and yet still be able to fill every position with ease, thinking otherwise is how the aforementioned legacy costs got us here.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:29 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,040,699 times
Reputation: 2821
Quote:
Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
What you are presenting is also unfounded hope.
No, I am pretty sure increasing the County property tax by one mill will bring in $50-60 million in new revenue.

Quote:
You seem to forget these new taxes do indeed hurt growth.
Again, higher taxes can hurt growth, but so can lower service levels. You are refusing to admit that both sides of the budget count, but they do (I'd cite a bunch of studies showing both sides count, but I know better than to think that would make any difference).
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:41 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,040,699 times
Reputation: 2821
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKyank View Post
When the city/county were negotiating & budgeting those terrible legacy cost that they say plagues & binds them now
You need to distinguish the City from the County when it comes to legacy costs. The City has a huge legacy cost problem, the County much less so.

And in fact, the County isn't claiming this tax increase is necessary because of legacy cost increases. It is necessary because of the state and federal funding cuts.

Quote:
I'm sure there were an equal number of people arguing back then that the budget has no room for cuts, the taxes are all necessary etc.
Actually, no, not really. What they were arguing is what people have been arguing here: our taxes should be low but our service levels should be high. To fulfill that popular outcome, the elected and appointed officials of the time came up with ways to push the costs for those service levels into the future.

That's one the many possible outcomes of refusing to admit you need to make hard choices--if you can, you might get someone else to pay for the consequences.

Quote:
And no, you do not need to offset benefit cost cuts with increased salary
Why not?

People make employment decisions based on a combination of cash compensation and benefits. If you cut benefits and don't increase cash compensation, you will attract a less qualified pool of applicants for those positions.

Now if you want to argue that the County's employees are overqualified for their positions, OK, but that is an argument you need to actually make, and take on the burden of proving.

Quote:
I'm sure you can slash all the crazy benefits like vehicles, parking, & even salaries and yet still be able to fill every position with ease
So are you claiming that better compensation won't get better employees when it comes to government positions? That defies everything we know about how labor markets work.

Or are you saying you would be fine if worse employees were working for the County?

Quote:
thinking otherwise is how the aforementioned legacy costs got us here.
No, the constant insistence that we shouldn't have to pay for the services we demand is how we got here.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:43 AM
 
3,474 posts, read 2,022,791 times
Reputation: 1955
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Again, higher taxes can hurt growth, but so can lower service levels. You are refusing to admit that both sides of the budget count, but they do (I'd cite a bunch of studies showing both sides count, but I know better than to think that would make any difference).
The crux of the problem for me is that you are paying a high amount while getting poor service in return. For all the positives that Pittsburgh offers & how well it is doing compared to many other cities, its growth has little to do with the services you get from the taxes you pay. & now (as well as the many of the other recently added taxes) you are expected to pay more, not to expand or improve anything, but to maintain the some of current sh*tty service levels & see others continue to decline.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:48 AM
 
3,474 posts, read 2,022,791 times
Reputation: 1955
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Or are you saying you would be fine if worse employees were working for the County?.
Yes. We're not talking about rocket scientist level jobs here.

Besides the current bad economy & heightened unemployment allows you to hire overqualified people cheaply anyways.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:06 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,040,699 times
Reputation: 2821
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKyank View Post
The crux of the problem for me is that you are paying a high amount while getting poor service in return.
But keep in mind that what is specifically happening here is that the state and feds are cutting their funding contributions to the County.

So yes, this won't be higher taxes to improve services. It will just be higher taxes to maintain the same service levels. Which is understandably frustrating, but more or less unavoidable when other levels of government cut their funding.

Quote:
For all the positives that Pittsburgh offers & how well it is doing compared to many other cities, its growth has little to do with the services you get from the taxes you pay.
I wouldn't assert the quality of our local services is necessarily a main driving factor in our recent growth, but certainly those local services are necessary. We couldn't be growing without police and fire. We couldn't be growing without public education. We couldn't be growing without child and senior services, and health services in general. We couldn't be growing without public roads and public transportation.

Again, the precise problem right now is that the state and feds are cutting their contributions to various local entities. And I think it is very likely our growth will in fact be constrained if we don't find a real solution to this problem.

Quote:
& now (as well as the many of the other recently added taxes) you are expected to pay more, not to expand or improve anything, but to maintain the some of current sh*tty service levels & see others continue to decline.
And again, that is because the state and feds have cut their funding to the County.

Feel free to be upset about that. But make sure you are blaming the right people, and also make sure you are coming up with real solutions to address that problem.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:10 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,040,699 times
Reputation: 2821
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKyank View Post
Yes. We're not talking about rocket scientist level jobs here.
You haven't told me which jobs you are talking about at all.

The only specific job mentioned above is the County judges. That may not be "rocket science", but I would hope we could agree that isn't a job you want competing with the register at McDonalds for employees.

Quote:
Besides the current bad economy & heightened unemployment allows you to hire overqualified people cheaply anyways.
Not so much in Allegheny County. Our unemployment rates aren't all that elevated overall, and a lot of that unemployment is concentrated in areas that wouldn't be helpful for something like attracting judges.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,174 posts, read 7,296,005 times
Reputation: 3588
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
No, I am pretty sure increasing the County property tax by one mill will bring in $50-60 million in new revenue.

Again, higher taxes can hurt growth, but so can lower service levels. You are refusing to admit that both sides of the budget count, but they do (I'd cite a bunch of studies showing both sides count, but I know better than to think that would make any difference).
At what cost is that 22% tax increase? What about the reassessment that is coming. Why did they squeeze that millage increase in before the reassessment?

"can hurt growth"? No, it DOES hurt growth, not "can".

Why are you avoiding all the new taxes I mentioned? You seem to be overlooking all those new taxes that were supposed to fix the problems. Did they work? Not from where I am standing.


When there is a contraction of funds from the state and federal, guess who gets hurt? The poor get hurt first. Bus service comes to mind. Did the drink tax help anything? Maybe it helped pay for those giant promised pensions that will be ongoing for how long? This entire system is broken and your solution is to raise taxes. The teacher's situation will be just like the PAT bus situation. Watch and see. It is going to hurt our area in a big way. If our area doesn't grow, guess who is left paying for the mess? The current property owners. We need more people moving here and you aren't going to get them if they are taxed out of business.

Below is the Allegheny County Drink Tax delinquent list. How many people do these places employ, or did they employ? How many are going to lose their jobs. That 10% now 7% was a breaking point for many. They couldn't pass it on to the customer, because the customer said no, I will buy my booze at the State Store and drink at home with no drink tax. Some bars/restaurants tried to eat that 7%. For many it didn't work out. You seem not to realize the effects of all these new taxes and raising them on businesses and homeowners. If a homeowner is paying more and more in taxes, what do they cut out? Eating out is one thing they can cut. Going places and spending money in general.

You do know businesses employ people don't you? If you handcuff enough of them, who is left employing? Pitt? UPMC?

http://www.alleghenycounty.us/treasu...nt_Weblist.pdf

There are many effects of your style. You always defend the teachers in our region making huge sums for 180 days of work. Just wait and see what our area is like in 10-15 years with these teachers leaving and collecting those pensions based on these salaries. Like I said, 50 students to a class here we come. Only huge school districts with tons of busses will be the way it plays out.

Lots of things are totally unsustainable. PAT bus comes to mind. Who is paying for that mess? All of us!
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,174 posts, read 7,296,005 times
Reputation: 3588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobick View Post
I renew my call for a h-curtis sticky that says:

* All public employees are overpaid, especially teachers
* All taxes are too high and are used to fund nothing but waste

If we could just place that at the top of the forum perhaps he wouldn't feel obligated to post his boilerplate drivel in every thread, thus preserving the thoughtful debate that others are attempting to have regarding public policy.
Just look at the percentages for a moment. I mean this area is really wild with taxes and they continually add new ones. Wasn't that drink tax the big bailout? Car rental? I am not talking about taxes that have been in place for decades, I am talking about NEW taxes. Now a reassessment AND an increased county millage of 22%?

Yeah, you are right, I should just sit here with my hands nicely folded and say, all is great here in Pittsburgh. Paying over $3K of tax on worth of property is great. Not to mention the wage tax, drink tax and new car rental tax. Nothing to see here. Just keep dong what you are doing leaders. You guys are great and powerful. No doubt they know all and are doing a perfect job. My bad! What about the great casino? Do you remember this??

On April 15, 2011, Pennsylvania Budget Secretary, Charles Zogby, certified that $776.2 million in gaming revenue will be available for relief of Pennsylvania property taxes in 2011. All Pennsylvania residents that own their primary residence are entitled to benefit from this property tax reduction.

Wasn't that casino, you know the one were the gamblers leave their kids in the parking lot all the time to gamble our savior?
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