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article imagePittsburgh drops proposed college tuition tax

By Oliver VanDervoort     Dec 22, 2009 in World
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has decided to drop the idea of taxing tuition to the city's colleges, most likely much to the relief of the colleges in question.
The one percent tax on tuition was suggested as a way for the City Government to cover a $15 million budget shortfall in the city's pension fund. However, if it had gone through with a successful city council vote it would have been the only city in the country to impose such a tax.
However, as NPR posits, this situation might have only been limited to Pittsburgh for a short time. Had the one percent tax idea worked in raising the funds, other cities might have begun looking at similar taxes suddenly making college even more expensive, and less attractive to attend.
Instead of the new tax, administration officials from the city's various colleges have met with the Mayor and his staff, and have pledged that they would take measures that would help the city close the funding gap.
Some feel that was the Mayor's motive all along, using the threat of a tax as a way to get officials both from the colleges, as well as the business community to seriously step forward and help the city.
It is a political gamble, as so far the budget gap still exists, but Mayor Ravenstahl told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette that "this is a leap of faith for all of us."
Carnegie Melon, the University of Pittsburgh, and Highmark Insurance have all said they will make higher donations to the city than they had from the 2005-2007 period. Neither they, nor the city officials would give an exact dollar amount, or for how long the donations would last.
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