A breaking dispatch from the Associated Press sure makes it look like Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (picture at top right is from his Wikipedia entry) is engaging in extortion directed at the institutions of higher education that happen to be within the city's borders. The ostensible reason for the stickup is to shore up the city's foundering pension system.
It will be interesting to see how or if the AP develops this story in the coming day before the possible Wednesday vote.
Also, the "first-of-its-kind" tax that Ravenstahl wants to impose has gotten surprisingly little national notice since he first proposed it in mid-November.
Anyway, here's a graphic capture of the AP item:
If this isn't extortion, someone will have to tell me what it is.
It will surprise no one that the tax-creative Ravenstahl is a Democrat. Though the situation may change in future updates, it will further surprise no one that the AP didn't name his party.
A deeper look into his record gives indications that the 29 year-old Ravenstahl appears bound and determined to make us forget about the up-to-now worst big-city "boy mayor" in American history, Cleveland's Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, now an Ohio congressman and a comic sideshow Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008, brought his city to the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1970s, barely surviving a recall vote.
As to the tuition tax, though the best tax is usually one that doesn't exist, this particular assessment might have a backhanded benefit. A levy so visible and so onerous might make collegians a bit more skeptical of the non-stop statism so many of their profs promulgate.
Commenters surely will have other thoughts on this, so have at it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.