State at Budget Impasse, But Don’t Stop the Music!

Taxpayers will be thrilled to know that while deliberations over the state budget continue into their third week and efforts are on to hold off a tax increase, the state printing press-also known as the capital budget-churns on. Today City Council made its plea via the URA to apply for funding from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Budget, $30.4 million to be exact.

The requests include funding for the Pittsburgh Opera ($2.2 million), Pittsburgh Ballet ($750K), and Pittsburgh Symphony ($1.4 million); the August Wilson Center ($9.1 million); and monies for the redevelopment of Federal North ($2 million), Oak Hill ($2.5 million), Point Park ($500k), and the YMCA in the Hill District ($3 million). Council documents show that some of the requests-the Wilson Center, the Opera, and Panther Hollow-will actually ask for more money than what was originally requested.

What’s the message here? That the state is not as in as bad shape as some have claimed and can afford to hand out money for cultural venues? That despite support from the Regional Asset District or some other form of subsidy that "enough is never enough"?

It is not sufficient to say that the RACP money comes from a different pot. The state had to borrow the money, meaning that taxpayers will be on the hook for a long time, much longer than the current stalemate.