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Pittsburgh may tax college tuition

A pushpin pointing to Pittsburgh, Pa., on a map.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Choitakis: Like many cities, Pittsburgh faces a multi-million-dollar budget deficit.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl thinks he's found a way -- a good way -- to help erase it: a first-of-its-kind tax on tuition at colleges and universities in that city. From station WDUQ Mark Nootbaar has more.


Mark Nootbaar: As soon as the mayor introduced the tax, a firefight began with Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education President Mary Hines calling it a poor choice.

Mary Hines:The principle underneath the decision to tax students is a principle that we believe is incorrect, unjust -- especially for the rationals that they've provided in saying the students should be taxed.

Enough votes have been gathered on the Pittsburgh city council to pass the tax including the vote of councilwoman Tonya Payne, who says city taxpayers are already overburdened.

Tonya Payne: I would rather have a tax that students pay than taxes from a 70-year-old couple.

Mayor Ravenstahl calls it the "fair-share tax" saying the students are using millions of dollars in city services every time they go out drinking and are not adding enough to the city coffers.

In Pittsburgh, I'm Mark Nootbaar for Marketplace.

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