Ravenstahl’s Tuition Tax

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council are close to imposing a 1% tax on the tuition of students at Pittsburgh colleges and universities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/education/16college.html?th&emc=th

Its an interesting idea, one that is certainly not popular with students. Politically it makes wonderful sense; as the article mentions most students are from outside the city and do not vote in local elections in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, it makes great politics with older voters that might be predisposed to think of students as freeloaders. Of course, that is not an accurate portrayal. I count as coworkers several people that are anything but freeloaders, going to school full time while working upwards of 30 hours per week (and obviously paying income taxes on that) along with the other taxes and fees they incur as members of society. And it will be a hardship, though 1% is frankly not that massive when you consider the much higher rates at which universities routinely hike their tuition, along with room and board and other fees. My hunch is, if this becomes part of the city tax code students will certainly grumble about it but life will go on for them. And it makes great politics for Ravenstahl as he settles into his full term as Mayor with an eye towards greater political office down the road.

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