Thursday, April 02, 2009

Pittsburgh may consider payroll tax for nonprofits

Mr. Lamb, city controller, misses the mark.
Pittsburgh may consider payroll tax for nonprofits: "Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb today proposed a tax shift that would lower levies on businesses, and shift some of the burden to nonprofit employers.

He asked city council and state overseers to consider seeking state approval for a 20 percent cut in the payroll preparation tax, now 0.55 percent of for-profit employers' payrolls, but broadening that tax to include the growing nonprofit sector, which includes hospitals, universities and some insurers.
The goal is not to punish the one sector that has growth. These Dems want to tax anything that moves. Wrong approach. Without the nonprofits, Pittsburgh is dead. Tax the nonprofits, Pittsburgh would die.

There is another approach. Tax was does NOT move. Tax land. Don't tax productivity. Do not tax work. Don't diminish earnings from service to better health and quality of life endeavors (as the nonprofits are, mostly).

We need to put on a moratorium on all nonprofit land expansion. We need to turn more of our physical spaces into taxable spaces -- not nonprofit, tax free spaces.

The land grab, the trampling of neighbors by the nonproft over the taxpayers is the real long term worry of Pittsburgh.

We need to tell the nonprofits that they can expand upward. Not outward.

We need to tell nonprofits to better utilize their existing spaces, consolidate what is already theirs -- but take no more.

We need the controller to lead an audit of all the spaces that are throughout the city and perhaps the county and measure, inch by inch, what is taxed and what is not able to be taxed with property taxes. What properties are owned by nonprofits? What are not?

Then the Pittsburgh nonprofit secret cadre of whimsical givers to Grant Street needs to sign-off on the land shrinkage plan.

This is an excellent time to make the ask as few are expanding. The Catholic Church is closing schools. They have too much land that isn't being used now. They would see a spike in the land value of existing holdings as if there is another nonprofit that wants to move -- they'll consider a move into what property the church already owns.

When you tax earnings -- government discourages earnings. That's wrongheaded policy.

I want nonprofits to flourish here. I want their employees to make money here. I just don't want the institutions to buy up all the land here as we'll have a big crash and my kid's won't be able to live here.

Pittsburgh Public Service Fund, an umbrella group of tax-exempt entities, needs to do an evaluation of the size of its umbrella. And, the city controller can help with an audit of the umbrella's footprint.

Pittsburgh is a space. The city is a space. Where the city is needs to be mapped -- and that is easily done, even with Google Earth for pete's sake. We need a grip on the spaces and the taxes associated with those spaces. That's the future of this city.

If the nonprofits want to build taller buildings, that is going to bring more value to the city. That density is going to be matched by private citizens as well. And, we'll need robust incomes -- without seeing them taxes at higher rates.

With Michael Lamb's position, we'll have higher costs of health care.

With Michael Lamb's position, we'll have government auditors snooping into the books of the Little Sisters of the Poor -- watching for hidden wage taxes.

Those are the wrong ways to lead a city.

The year-by-year breakdown has to be about the size of the nonprofit land holdings and NOTHING else. That's the breakdown that this city is hungry to understand and control.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another blogger:

He said, Tread lightly.