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Ravenstahl Undecided on Billboard Tax

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he is still reviewing the billboard tax legislation passed this week by the city council.  The measure would levy a 10 percent tax on the revenue generated by any billboard within the city limits.

Currently the billboards are subject only to a property tax based on the value of the land on which they sit.

“Our law department is examining the legalities of it,” said Ravenstahl. 

Lamar Advertising legal counsel John Camin said the company will sue Pittsburgh in federal court if the mayor signs the bill. He said the proposed tax would violate constitutional property rights and would hamper business and commerce in the city.

“I have to weigh the legalities of it with the need to add revenue,” said Ravenstahl.  “I applaud city council for bringing the issue forward and we will make our decision next week.”

If the mayor vetoes the bill it would go back to the city council, which passed it unanimously, meaning it could easily override the veto. 

The bill's sponsors, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and Council President Darlene Harris, say the tax would bring in two to four million dollars annually.

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