Students Protest Tuition Tax in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's mayor proposed a 1 percent tuition tax to help raise money for the city.

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Students didn't like the idea of paying a 1 percent tuition tax when Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl made the proposal in November, so they spoke up at a recent City Council meeting in the Steel City.

College students packed the meeting on Monday to present petitions with more than 10,000 signatures, the Pitt News reports. Students from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Chatham University, and others decried the tax as "taxation without representation" and "stupid."

Charlie Shull, president-elect of the Pitt Student Government Board, told council members that if the tax passed, he'd work with Pitt students to unify against them in future elections, the report says. And he dismissed the idea that students should be taxed because they don't respect the city of Pittsburgh. The current student board president, Keith Morrison, disagreed with the assertion that students should focus as much energy on fighting rising tuition costs as they are on battling the tax.

"Don't try to turn us against our universities. We are with our universities. We're not with the city," Morrison said.

City Councilman Bill Peduto, who represents parts of the Oakland neighborhood where Pitt and Carnegie Mellon are located, called the tax "asinine."

"Students are probably one of the lowest-income groups," Peduto said. "They are being asked to pay because they are bettering themselves."

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