Return of the Living Wage

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Pittsburgh City Council’s attempt to install a prevailing wage for employees at City-subsidized development projects has emboldened one Council member to take it a step further and revisit the idea of the living wage.  At a time when the nation is in recession,  the City and area are losing jobs, and governments at all levels are struggling to balance their budgets, resurrecting the living wage could not be more ill-conceived. Although hearings on the bill have been postponed for the moment, it will almost certainly be on Council’s agenda soon.



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Will G-20 Backfire for Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania?

When reporters from around the world write about Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania during their visit in conjunction with the G-20 meeting, what will they say? Of course, with all the "redd up" activities and the swell parties being thrown and the constant barrage of positive spin from the Mayor and County Executive, it is expected that nothing but laudatory comments extolling Pittsburgh will be forthcoming.

On the other hand, reporters aren’t stupid. If they bother to read the local paper or watch local news broadcasts they will be well aware that not is all perfect in the workers’ paradise. For example, Pennsylvania has only a skeleton budget in place and has not funded its biggest expenditure item–education. Then too, it will not have escaped their notice that Pittsburgh’s finances, particularly its pension plans, are in shambles. And how about those Pittsburgh schools. Think that might have attracted some attention?

Lastly, can it have slipped under the radar how public sector unions threw their weight around in Harrisburg to scuttle what was a tentative first step to help municipalities cope with severe pension funding problems?

Reporters who do not simply run with the self serving handouts from the Mayor’s office and the Chamber of Commerce will undoubtedly find some of the unattractive sides of Pennsylvania’s and Pittsburgh’s governance. The City might be physically improved and have great cultural and higher educational facilities but the inability to govern itself prudently is a far more compelling story for a real journalist.