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Two tax abatements plans surfaced in early 2007. One from William Peduto and the other from Luke Ravenstahl.

  • Peduto wants to use tax abatements with a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement for construction Downtown and adjoining neighborhoods. City property tax would be waived.

Talking

Peduto said, "I can't compare my plan to his because he doesn't have one. I can't debate a press release." Ravenstahl "took a carefully crafted economic development tool that has been lacking in this city for the past 20 years and turned it into a game of one-upmanship."

DetailsEdit

  • Feb. 15, 2007, public hearing with Peduto.
  • Feb 14, 2007, at Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Ravenstahl outlined a plan that offered a similar 10-year, 100-percent tax abatement.
  • Peduto's plan offers additional tax credits on historic renovation and environmentally friendly building technologies.
  • Peduto will now convene another study group to look at alternative tax-abatement plans. One would include economically under-performing neighborhoods, like those Ravenstahl's plan covers. Another will look at applying the exemption throughout the city.
    • "I will be doing the difficult work that the mayor avoided," Peduto says. "At some point you have to be responsible, instead of offering everyone an ice-cream cone just to get elected."
  • Peduto's proposal is drawing some criticism because it focuses on areas such as the South Side and the North Side that are already seeing a boom in development. Peduto said the working group was following up on the ideas of the Riverlife Task Force, whose work focuses on parts of town along the rivers.
  • Peduto added that in Philadelphia, whose tax-abatement program inspired his plan, the areas that saw the largest boom under the tax-abatement program were "already over-performing, affluent neighborhoods."
  • Steve Zecher, a consultant who worked on Peduto's plan, says the goal was "to focus on the Triangle and the five neighborhoods that surround it. That's the city's regional brand and the area that defines Pittsburgh in the national and international community." He said the tools proposed were developed to deal specifically with the needs and problems Downtown, like the steeper cost of site acquisition and parking costs. "All of these things translate into capital costs that can't be recovered in a short amount of time," Zecher says. "This plan would provide the sufficient return they would need to get them to come to this city."
  • Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA) District already provides a five-year, 100-percent commercial tax abatement, he says.

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