By Colin McNickle
Published: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 8:48 p.m.
America will get what it voted for and soon. Two, to wit, to start:
• Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly reminded President Obama of his promise to show greater “flexibility” in U.S.-led missile defense system negotiations — translation: capitulation — should Mr. Obama win re-election. The neutering of American defenses and emboldening of Russian offensive capabilities begun under New START will rapidly accelerate.
• There's chatter anew for a “carbon tax” of, say, $20 per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions. Advocates tout it as relatively “neutral” for business and industry because it would swap taxes, income for carbon. But it also would dramatically increase energy prices and likely require “compensation,” a euphemism for public subsidies, to offset the damage from those rising prices. As per usual, interventionism begets interventionism, doing more damage than good. ...
Two questions should be answered when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Sports & Exhibition Authority go to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on Nov. 19 in their dispute over how the cost of a nearly $40 million Heinz Field expansion should be split:
• What will be the total cost of the taxpayer-guaranteed bond issue, principal and interest, being demanded by the Steelers to cover the lease-required two-thirds share?
• How long will it take the Steelers to recoup the total cost of this project through increased revenues generated from personal seat licenses, tickets, private club receipts and new scoreboard advertising?
One would suspect that when the latter term is subtracted from the former, the depth of this latest public shafting will be shockingly fully revealed. ...
While the usual suspects are all smiles over the “funding gap” being closed to build an $11.5 million Shop 'n Save grocery store in Pittsburgh's Hill District, the “financials” of this deal still don't add up.
The fella who's going to operate the store has a quite negligible $1 million in the deal with the balance coming from public and public-aided nonprofit sources. Just under $2 million of the gap will be closed with money from the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program. That is, investors will give money to the grocery store project in return for a tax credit.
Which, as Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, notes, “is just (another) way for the feds to pour more tax dollars into the grocery store.”
“More dollars,” the Ph.D. economist reminds, “that will not have to show any return on investment.”
Haulk says the store's construction costs already are above the industry norm and says “there is no chance it will ever generate adequate revenue to justify the investment.”
And to that end, Haulk ponders if the next step will be for Hill House Association, the organizing nonprofit behind the project, to seek tax-exempt status for the store.
“Property taxes on $11 million will be $330,000 per year. Who will be responsible for the payment? Of course, the store will ask to be valued based on income it generates. If that happens, no taxes ever will be paid.
“Now that's real development,” Haulk wryly notes.
Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412- 320-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- Suspect in East Liberty slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- New Pirates pitcher Eppley brings special delivery to team’s staff
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- Heyl: Men. Men! Men? Say it isn’t so, Chatham
- With NCAA hopes on bubble, Pitt men treating Clemson as must-win