Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
On the “Watch List”:
• The Iron City project. Collier Development is proposing a $100 million-plus complex on the site of the old Lawrenceville brewery. It would feature a 100-room hotel, 150 apartments, some shops and restaurants. But Collier also says it will seek public funding. How much? It's not saying. Why should taxpayers subsidize (and, in the process, assume some of the risk of) yet another developer's pursuit of profit?
• UPMC. The tax-exempt status of the health care giant is under increasing scrutiny. Its untaxed holdings have become quite vast. Compensation for more than a score of executives is quite high. Its charitable care, while numerically high, is a small fraction of its income pie. Expect the matter to end up in some court somewhere sooner rather than later.
Lance: To Luke Ravenstahl. Pittsburgh's mayor said he opposed City Council legislation that established a likely unconstitutional 10 percent tax on billboards. A court challenge is virtually assured. On Wednesday, though, Hizhoner allowed that legislation to become law without his signature. Its veto-proof majority was cited. But what about principle? What principle?
The big return: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, out for a month with an injured shoulder and ribs, is set to return to play on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh, 7-5, pretty much has a lock on a wild-card berth. And it's not unfathomable to think the Steelers could end the regular season with an 11-5 record, hitting their stride just as the playoffs open.
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