Comments of David Tessitor at City Council Hearing
on the PA Legislature's Act 47 requirements on Monday, November 22, 2005
Council members: You honor me today … by proving me right as you have brought to fruition my most dire predictions over the past decade. This Council, the Mayor, and the Allegheny Conference, a.k.a. Pennsylvania Economy League, have doggedly pursued one subsidy after another for real estate speculation. Now with the City on its knees, you are hellbent upon continuing real estate speculation subsidies while placing the burden for you ways upon the average citizen.
I have watched as you have overseen the dismantling of the City. I have heard Councilman Peduto express his desire to see the City eliminated and it looks as though he and the Allegheny Conference will get their way.
In reviewing the proposal before you, I see you removing much that makes the City a unique urban community. In doing so, you make it harder for the City to compete, not easier.
Let us look at the purchasing provisions. First, surrendering to the County is not any step forward — the County is actually worse off than the City, it just hasn't hit the fan yet. Second, deleting anti-sweat shop provisions is a clear statement that you are inviting sweat shop competition with our fair practice American businesses, some right here in Pittsburgh. Maybe you should turn our purchasing over to Wal-mart instead of Allegheny County.
But you are going to do what you are going to do. So, let me argue in the alternative that if, in the face of the crisis you have precipitated, you implement onerous changes that undermine the urban product, then, at the bare minimum, you must protect the City by predicating the changes upon them existing only as long as the City remains in its fiscal crisis and placing in your legislation a sunsetting provision that returns the present requirements and arrangements to full force upon the City regaining solvency.
In the meantime, I implore you to stop subsidizing the real estate speculation. The Allegheny Conference will undoubtedly argue otherwise, but they have not been elected to run the City. The only time it stood for election as the initiator and proponent of the Stadium Tax, they were defeated 2 to 1 in the city and 8 to 1 in the surrounding counties.