My fellow constituents, classmates, and friends, it is time for us to organize.
Some of you may have heard about the 1 percent tuition tax that the recently re-elected mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl, is pursuing.
Without going into a great amount of detail, the city needs about $15 million to boost its pension and to help balance its budget.
The mayor says that college students place a major burden on many of the city’s services and resources, and therefore, we should be taxed 1 percent of the cost of our tuition. If this bill passes, Pittsburgh will be the first city to institute such a tax.
What do we do now? Tuition costs increase every year, and Carnegie Mellon is one of the most expensive universities in the city. How do we show the mayor and the city council that we will take a major hit, financially, from this tax?
I have been in discussion with several students from different schools in the city, as well as administrators on our own campus, and I am hearing the same message: This should not be happening. In a time of great economic uncertainty, the last thing we need is to be taxed for choosing to seek higher education in the city of Pittsburgh.
All affected students must speak up and take matters into our own hands.
This may be a great time for all of us to begin to learn about Pittsburgh politics and the ways in which our student experience in the city can be impacted. In the next week, you can expect to hear a lot of buzz around campus concerning this issue.
I ask that you tune in and find out what is going on and that you take an interest in an issue that could have a direct impact on your time here as students.
The only way that we can fight this is by showing the power that college students in Pittsburgh have.
We bring so much to this city — we help local businesses, we do research, we do a tremendous amount of social work and community service, and so much more.
There will be more information concerning this tuition tax released to the entire campus later this week.
In the meantime, get informed, tell a friend, call the city council, and be on the lookout for petitions outside of Doherty Hall.