Tuesday, January 26, 2010

John the Plumber

I forgot.  Yesterday was the anniversary of the City of Pittsburgh's wage tax.  An ordinance for the new wage tax was passed on January 25, 1954 by a vote of 8-1.  The lone dissenting vote was from then councilor, and future city council president John F.Counahan, a plumber from the North Side. It provided a temporary reprieve for the city's budget...  9 years later it would impement a novel parking tax as well. 

and not to bring up the whole tuition tax imbroglio..... but I see a related historical note that the city did in fact once try to pass an "institution and service privilege tax" decades ago on both hospital admissions and college tuitions. What happened to it?  It seems the hospital part was implemented first and was thrown out in court. So what goes around comes around.  Can you spell p-r-e-c-e-d-e-n-t?


Anonymous DBR96A said...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010 7:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city has in the past had an institution service privilege tax. It applies to all non-profits, and is a tax on gross income (not donations).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:20:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

yes, but not really.. again because legal precedent had narrowed what it could apply to. Semantics may be confusing. The extant tax is just on food and drink sold to the general public or something like that? How much has ever been collected that way? There had been a business privilege tax on gross revenues. Taxes on gross revenues are really kind of the worst. I know specific folks who moved their businesses to just feed outside the border to get out from paying it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. My experience is not up to date. But the ISP tax used to be applied on all earned revenue of all non-profits - bingo revenues, fees for service, rents, etc. The millage rate was low, so for most small non-profits it was a kind of nuisance tax. It could get them in trouble though, because they would often go years without paying it, because they didn't know it applied to them.
I thought Act 47 abolished the tax, but again, I could be wrong.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9:03:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Act 47 got rid of the Business privilege tax which was a tax on all gross receipts... I don't see anything in the Act 47 plan about modifying the runt of insitution and service priviledge tax. Bingos and the like are arguably services to the public at large and could be caught up, but I still think it was on their incidentals. Never added up to much in many years no matter. looks like 400K or so a year in total.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9:43:00 AM  

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