Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pittsburgh Council refuses to lower parking tax

The key phrase in the article about city council is LARGELY SYMBOLIC. City council is mostly just symbolic. I wish is wasn't so, but that is how the body acts most of the time.
Pittsburgh Council refuses to lower parking tax In a surprise move that may prove largely symbolic, Pittsburgh City Council today voted against lowering the parking tax from 40 percent to 37.5 percent, despite a state law that requires the reduction.

Though the state in 2004 set a schedule for the reduction of the tax, which was once 50 percent, the annual cuts require council votes. Today's preliminary vote of 4-4, with one council seat empty, if repeated at council's final meeting of the year on Dec. 30, would prevent the reduction.
My point about parking tax and the associated areas should be restated as the topic is being revisited.

I think that the tax should stay at 50% until the parking authority is liquidated and then the tax should drop to some minimal amount, from 0% to 20%. The key is to get rid of the public subsidization of parking downtown.

The Parking Authority can be liquidated and what remains can be a parking department within municipal government.

A schedule of liquidation of the lots can be hooked to the tax collected.

Selling the parking lots, especially the parking garages, is something that should occur. Allow for a union to bid on one. Stage the sell off for different months for a few years. Take open bids. Auction others. Make one a co-op for all I care. Make them all co-ops even.

The city has been using parking deals as a sweetener for other bone-headed deals.

A public parking garage was built at PNC Firstside. And, it is way too big and the top floor is hardly ever used.

More parking garages are being built on Second Ave by the suburban tech buildings. Rather, I'd like to see them expanded upwards if possible. And, that land has been TIFed TWICE. A big tax break came to get the first buildings and now there is not enough value to have it continue in growth unless more TIF (bribes) are put on the table -- ripping off the kids in schools today.

Parking was part of Lazarus. Parking was part of stadium deals too.

Public money should not subsidize parking for those in high-end condos either.

In a better world, car parking would be part of the sustainable solutions for property owners. Now, they just figure out who has the clout to bribe and bargain for parking needs with taxpayer money rather than private investment. Private money won't go into parking now -- as the 900 pound gorilla is government owned parking facilities that can give away free parking (twinkle season) and jack with parking taxes.

In 1935 the number one problem with downtown so reported on survey was parking. Then came the Parking Authority. To this day, one of the worst problems with downtown is parking.

There is plenty of poison in the downtown parking and city-wide parking issue. The way to get rid of it is to flush it -- liquidate. Unload the public-owned facilities. Get a fair price for them. Then the city can worry a bit about what really matters -- like government.

I think that the people in Harrisburg would be happy to hear the plan. The city will cut parking taxes to -- say 10% -- for all suburban and city people who park here. But, that price cut comes after the debt and burden of the Parking Authority is removed.

Finally, I'd not be shocked if the Parking Authority liquidation nets a profit. If it is done well, it could. That cash could go to debt reduction and/or parks -- rather than parking.

Why the city has a parking authority and not a park authority / park district is a sin. The city cares more about the parked autos of mostly suburban commuters than it does about the health and wellness of the kids who live in the city.

Finally, did you see how 'parking' in the 'parks' has turned into an issue at Schenley Park and also at Mellon Park. Contractors are parking in the park and not the job site at Baker's Square.

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