Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's proposal to tax college students ranks among the most stupid and shortsighted plans I've heard of in a long time.
Basic economics teaches that the more you tax something, the less of it you get. Pittsburgh wants to be known as a center for health care, education and technology. Students who attend college in Pittsburgh are not the drain on resources that the mayor claims. Rather, they are our future entrepreneurs and workers, and the city's chief hope for prosperity and population growth. Today's students may someday become city taxpayers if they discover that Pittsburgh is an attractive place to live and work.
With the average student graduating with more than $20,000 in educational loans, Mr. Ravenstahl is trying to balance his budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. A few hundred dollars in extra fees could be the difference that sends a student elsewhere to attend college. The more students who decide to go elsewhere with their checkbooks, the more the city loses.