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Supreme Court decision in Cuno a loss for Pittsburgh residents?

May 17th, 2006 · 1 Comment

On May 15th, the Supreme Court handed a loss to Toledo taxpayers in Cuno when it held that the taxpayers did not have standing to challenge the decision to provide tax breaks to Daimler Chrysler.  Pittsburgh also provides this type of tax break (there was a large discussion back in February that can be seen on Mark Rauterkus’ blog here).  This issue is particularly relevant to Pittsburgh because of the effect of university supported developments on the tax base (check out the 2004 USA Today article here and the 2003 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article here).

It is unclear whether or not this is a win for Pittsburgh taxpayers.  On one hand, it may be that the business development would not otherwise happen in Pittsburgh without tax breaks and the development will ultimately generate more revenue than is lost to the tax breaks.  On the other hand, it might be a loss for Pittsburgh taxpayers because it hampers the ability of residents to challenge the decision of who gets the tax breaks and the tax breaks may not generate enough revenue to cover that which is lost. 

Regardless, the Supreme Court appears to have largely ducked these issues when it held that the taxpayers could not meet the standing requirements.  I expect that more litigation over this important issue will occur in the future.  Next time it might be Pittsburgh taxpayers leading the charge!

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Mark Rauterkus // May 23, 2006 at 11:07 am

    In the end, the best decisions are not made, IMNSHO, by the courts. We are going to need to win over the minds and votes of the citizens and taxpayers. We need real people to be put into office so as to make this happen to the best results.

    The elite politicians are the ones that are so hell-bent on re-election that they get the big money people on their side and finance their campaigns. Then the tax breaks have to go out as pay-back.

    We need to NUKE the tax break tools for a while. There is poison in the marketplace now.

    Thanks for the link.

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