Thursday, February 25, 2010

Afternoon wonkery

No free lunch it turns out. Guv says Allegheny County RAD tax will decrease under his proposed budget from 1% to 0.7% in order to keep it revenue neutral for the county. Under the proposal the sales tax in Allegheny County would be 4.7%. Bring your calculator to the store with you. This is all the fungible stage anyway. I would not be overly surprised if the local 1% remains intact if this all actually happens.

Agreement in Harrisburg.   No joke, there is complete agreement in harrisburg (little 'h' I suppose) that Act 47 = bad.

Henry George lives. Quote from UPMC spokesman in an article today about the market for space in Oakland says “nobody’s making land”. Where is Henry when you need him?

Wall Street Wow. Pension has a bit more money at the end of 2009 than it did at the end of 2008. But the stock market did awfully well in 2009 as well. In that context, did the fund really even keep pace? Anyone asking about their new actuarial report that the city must have completed by now?

Big Sandy speaks.   Just because nobody covers the Steel industry anymore.  There is a secondary story of note locally embedded in this from the WSJ this morning.  First read: Steel Costs Set to Jump.  The article says the price of 'inputs' to steelmaking are going to jump up in 2010.  OK.   For an integratred steel plant the main inputs are iron ore and coking coal.  Coking coal is a big part of the economy in the environs of Pittsburgh.  I must not have been paying attention of late. It says "spot prices for coking coal are hovering at $200-$250 a dry metric ton compared to the 2009 benchmark coking-coal price of about $129/ton, free on board, the person at the large steelmaker said".  For a primer, I refer back to the old Slate article on coal prices.



Anonymous MH said...

I think your PG article on office space in Oakland answers my question about why South Oakland isn't getting any new buildings.

He estimated that the cost of building one underground parking space could run $35,000 to $45,000.

Even if you got a good interest rate, I'd guess you'd still need more than $250 a month for a parking pass just to pay the note.

Friday, February 26, 2010 9:54:00 AM  

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