TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Billboard tax passes Pittsburgh City Council; lawsuit could follow

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 11:08 a.m.
 

An attorney representing Pittsburgh's largest outdoor advertising company said the company would “absolutely go to court” over a controversial excise tax.

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the tax, which places a 10 percent levy on revenue generated by billboards.

“There is no way this action is legal or appropriate,” said Downtown attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents Lamar Advertising, based in Baton Rouge, La.

The tax should generate $2 million to $4 million annually for the cash-strapped city, according to Council President Darlene Harris. She said the money would go to the city's general fund, but council hopes to use it to buy police cars.

“We are looking everywhere and anywhere to try to enhance revenues, and this is only one avenue,” Harris said.

Kamin said the tax is a restriction on speech and violates the First Amendment.

Lamar lashed out last month by erecting billboards critical of Harris and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the bill's sponsors.

Kamin said Rudiak violated the state Ethics Act by voting on the bill, based on comments she made during a 2011 council meeting. Rudiak, of Carrick, said that studies indicated her property value would be 30 percent higher without a billboard across the street from her home.

Rudiak called Kamin's accusation “a stretch.”

“It's such an overreach,” she said. “All we're doing is looking to hold the line on residents' property taxes.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
  2. Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
  3. Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
  4. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  5. Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
  6. Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
  7. Warrant issued for man accused of killing Brookline woman
  8. Emails among Governor Wolf’s aides reveal concern over AG Kane
  9. Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
  10. Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
  11. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions