Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Podcast--UPMC on Pittsburgh Promise Tax Credit Controversy

I've posted a podcast of highlights from reporter Q&A with UPMC General Counsel Robert Cindrich. This happened minutes after he stepped away from his appearance before City Council. You can listen in at this link.

It works well with Quicktime and iTunes, but other media players should be fine. Let me know how it works for you. The audio is from my microcassette; its not top sound quality but it's listenable.

Some highlights:

• "Under that agreement, we would have the right--we wouldn't have to do it--but we would have the right to reduce the amount of payment to the Promise by the amount we would now have to pay in taxes."

• Q: So the mayor's office asked for a tax credit for you that you don't want?

A: "I never saw that language until I walked into Council chambers today, and I think it was an improvident use of the words 'tax credit', because we do not ask for a tax credit."

• Q: City Council doesn't need to enact a law for you to make a choice whether or not to live by your charitable commitments, right?

A: "That's true. "

Q: Then why are you asking them to?

A: "Because if they put this in writing, it will be a statement to us that says even if the law changes, we want you to continue to support the Promise, rather than to pay taxes."

• Q: So that the money that you put into the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund--that the city is being told to use to balance its budget--the city will lose that money as a result of the Pittsburgh Promise program?

A: "Yes."

Q: Pushing the city budget further out of balance in the future?

A: "Yes. It could. It depends on whether they find alternate revenue sources, whether other non-profits will step up to the plate, whether the city begins, as it has, its turnaround."


1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

"It depends ... on whether the city begins, as it has, its turnaround."

How can it depend on the beginning of something that we are assured has already begun?

Frankly, if Act 55 gets amended and we start taxing hospitals and insurers, we should be flush with cash from Highmark, and the overage from UPMC's tax burden after their scholarship donation. So I'm not worried. Still, these people are bizarre.