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More corporate wealthfare: Rendell's 'generosity'

| Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005

Gov. Ed Rendell is throwing, or is about to throw, your money at some very profitable business concerns.

American Eagle Outfitters is moving its headquarters from Marshall to Pittsburgh's South Side. That is, from one part of Allegheny County to another.

Mr. Rendell is offering the hip clothier $5.5 million in taxpayer money, of which $1 million is an outright grant. There's $4 million in taxpayer-underwritten low-interest loans, split between the new SouthSide Works headquarters and American Eagle's distribution center, also in Marshall; there's $500,000 in job-training assistance.

American Eagle achieved its sixth consecutive quarter of record sales and earnings in the second fiscal quarter; third-quarter earnings are due next month.

And taxpayers are being forced to subsidize the effort?

Sometime in November, PNC Financial Services Group is expected to announce what it plans to do with a group of Golden Triangle properties that it has been banking. Gov. Rendell says it's a "huge project"; his administration and PNC are "negotiating" an undisclosed public subsidy.

Since July, PNC has laid off 200 workers in Pittsburgh. PNC posted a third-quarter profit of $334 million.

And taxpayers will help pay for its new Downtown development?

Two very profitable companies want to grow. That's wonderful. And we're glad that American Eagle and PNC have made commitments to Pittsburgh. But it's no excuse for Ed Rendell to dip into the public purse. These companies have the financial wherewithal to pay for, or finance, these projects themselves.

This is corporate wealthfare. And this has to stop.

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