It’s Money that Matters

This morning, there were two different headline stories about money: The way it’s spent and the impact it makes. Both struck me, but for very different reasons.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools will be able to keep a “Promise” to its high school students – thanks to UPMC. The organization is set to donate upwards of $100M towards college scholarships to students who complete their primary education. It’s a generous donation and, in a discussion with my executive producer Jennifer Sloan, demonstrates something that has become unique to Pittsburgh.

While many areas of the country made donate more money, few donate is such large numbers of people than western Pennsylvania. Jennifer called it a “sense of ownership” and I echo that feeling. In doing so many charitable events over the course of a year, I find that people give – and give often. People who cannot afford to give lots of money do. That’s because they are from here and have a vested interest in seeing this area succeed.

That was the cash flow. The negative may have taken place late last night with the adoption by county council of the drink tax. In case you missed it, there will now be a 10% tax added onto the cost of all alcoholic drinks served as Allegheny County restaurants and bars starting on January 2nd. While the money is earmarked to help the financially-troubled Port Authority, the impact of the tax could slow down perhaps the biggest area of growth in our city.

Trust me: After going to local restaurants each week for “Check It Out”, I have seen the boom in the beverage industry. My fear is this tax will cause people to either drink less or go outside the county to imbibe. While we need public transportation, should we keep one enterprise going at the risk of slowing down another? Whatever they choose, it’s likely to slow down this booming part of our rejuvenated economy.

Money. As you can see it can do a whole lot of good .. or can cause a whole lot of pain .. depending on how it’s spent or how it’s collected.


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