Saturday, September 13, 2008

PAT Buses: Onorato's LAST SHOT At Political Relevance

Dan Onorato is the Chief Executive of Allegheny County. He wants to be Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At one time he had a shot.

Then came the 10% drink tax.

It's no surprise that Onorato is a Democrat from Pittsburgh. What was a surprise was the fiscal fact that Dan was more financially conservative than moderate-Republican Jim Roddey, the county's first ACE. Roddey, one of the region's premier and most-respected businessmen, laid a gigantic political egg in his first and only term.

Onorato's "fast track" to Harrisburg included only token competition in his re-election.

Then came the 10% drink tax.

It's no surprise that Dan Dan the Tax Man is a Democrat from Pittsburgh. Democrats from Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Harrisburg for that matter almost never pass up the opportunity to tax the bejesus out of their electorate. That's how they employ their cronies and political pals.

Onorato forced his "tax baby" down our collective throats as a way to pay for the extremely bloated and wasteful Port Authority of Allegheny County.

There's a big budget crunch, so what do these progressives do? Allow seniors to ride for free. Many of these same seniors board the bus to their local lottery ticket emporium. There they plop down hundreds of dollars. Then they board the PAT bus again for free. Why they don't have to pay a single greenback is anyone's guess. These same freeloaders vote in droves. And they vote in droves almost exclusively for Democrats. Why not give them a free ride? The seniors will allow their favorite liberal enablers plenty of free rides.

Surprise, surprise. Union leaders turned down a fact-finder's report that suggests contract concessions. The contract suggestions a 3-percent pay increases for each of the next three years as well as a minuscule addition to health care costs.

The Port Authority drivers in Allegheny County are the highest-paid in the country. when salaries take into account cost-of-living data. As good union stewards, like attorney Joseph J. Pass charged in a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial, someone else, namely corporations, need to bend over backwards to make sure that the filet mignon and champagne keeps on coming.

Port Authority bigwigs say the agency could run out of money in January if the status remains quo.

Dan Onorato needs to fire the Port Authority drivers and find folks who want to do the work. President Ronald Reagan's legacy was cemented early in his first term when he fired 12,000 air traffic controllers who were violating their contracts.

Dan Onorato needs to realize that he was elected twice to represent the citizens of Allegheny County and not just the fraction of union workers who enjoy the spoils of a happy-spending hierarchy.

Dan Onorato will not do the right thing and replace the drivers and other employees who would rather rake in exorbitant salaries and benefits while providing less spectacular performance due to cost-cutting service cuts.

If Onorato doesn't stay firm...doesn't win this round of negotiations decisively, then he will be completely out of the running for Harrisburg's biggest throne.

Dan is still trying to get voters to decide between higher drink taxes or higher property taxes. Never does he speak of reducing costs by trimming some of the employee fat at PAT. That's not the Democrat's way.

Dan Onorato must fire the Port Authority employees if they don't soon agree to that very favorable contract proposal. He won't do it.

And he won't make it to Harrisburg, either.


Anonymous said...

John K: That was a well written piece and as clear a take on the PAT situation as there ever was.

Mark Rauterkus said...

A bunch of topic swirl in this post. Thanks.

I'd rather not fire the drivers -- but fire the exec director and the entire authority framework.

Let's hope Onorato does NOT advance to the Gov job. More than hope -- let's work to insure he doesn't win.

Thomas Leturgey said...

Oh, there aren't any "good guys" in this whole scenerio, but it would easily be time to open things up to private competition.

Union hoods are the real problems here. As uneducated, largely unproductive members of our community, unions supple at the teet of government and do nothing but protect weak links and demand more and more luxuries.

Once the unionized drivers are fired, they can apply for the openings thar would be much more aligned with true market values.

Thomas Leturgey said...

To John K: BTW, thanks. That was very nice of you to say.

To Mark: Dan Dan the Tax Man will ruin his only chances in Harrisburg, unless of course he remarkably and miraculously finds a way to elimate the drink tax.

BTW, he'd have to fire the port authority bus drivers to get spending under control. Again, he won't do it.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you don't know all the information here. Do you know that port authority workers work every holiday...Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving and Easter. When everyone else if off...they are not. 2nd they are being offered q 3% raise per year for 3 years starting in 2008 however with a 10% contribution to healthcare in 2010 so with this contract they are actually losing a minimum of 1%. Would you take the contract? Somehow I doubt it.