PIttsburgh drops parking tax rate 5% – Want’s to keep revenue from Operators


PIttsburgh drops parking tax rate 5% – Want’s to keep revenue from Operators

The City of Pittsburgh has dropped its parking tax from 50% to 45% and are stunned that the cost of parking didn’t drop by the same amount. Read about it here.

The city, which still has the highest tax rate on parking in the country, by far, lowered its rates earlier this year and the local city controller noted that the operators didn’t lower their rates accordingly. I just love his quote

Since the operators didn’t lower their rates, Pokora (the city controller) said the city
should keep its tax high so the city will still get that revenue
instead of the parking operators.

Let’s see, that means that the purpose of taxation is to gain revenue for the city, not to take the money and use it for public use. It is confiscatory. Well, at least he is finally telling it like it is.

Parking fees charges by cities, whether they are for on street parking, off street parking, or fines, are simply another type of tax. They aren’t there to help provide a good or service to the citizenry. Most cities see parking revenue as simply another source of money for the city coffers and NOT as a way to care of a most important resource, parking.

It’s this attitude that leads to the attitude of the public that parking regulations are to be despised and the parking profession should be hated. If the city bureaucracy not only thinks this way, but discusses their feelings openly, why shouldn’t the residents of the community feel that they are again having their pockets picked, albeit with a different hand.

As for the operators not lowering their prices, the price is set by supply and demand, not by the operators. They set the price at whatever it is and then pay the tax out of that price. If the tax were added ON TOP of the price to park, ie, $1 an hour PLUS 50 cents tax for a total for a total of $1.50 my guess is that if the tax were lowered to 45% the price would have been $1 per hour plus 45 cents tax.

There is another issue — in New York the prices are posed exactly that way. People know when they pay $40 to park, $8 or so goes to the city. Its right there on the sign. If they paid $50 to park and they saw that $25 went to the city, my guess is that there would be a revolution. 

If you ask any driver in NYC what the tax was on their parking, they would probably be able to tell you. My guess is that in Pittsburgh they would not. I haven’t been in the city at the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela for years and for all I know, the signs do report the 50% tax, but frankly, I doubt it.

This all goes along with sales tax.  You all know that sales tax is added on at the cash register. So you know that you are paying 6% or 8% tax. It shows up right there on the receipt. In Europe and Canada they pay a sales tax that is upwards of 20% or more. They call it VAT but its a sales tax, nevertheless. You pay it. However it is "included" in the price of the goods. So if you pay $100 for an item, approximately $20 is tax. But you don’t know it.  Its the same with gasoline here.

A similar issue is withholding on your salary. If you had to write a check every month to the government for 25% of your salary, I wonder if tax rates would be quite so high. As it is, they sneak it out bit by bit and you never notice it.

All this means that if there were giant signs on every parking garage and lot in every city that said "20% of the money you pay goes to the city government in tax" or "$1 of every four you pay for parking goes to the city as tax"  I wonder if the drivers would start to yell at the city council rather than the attendant?

Just saying…


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Only show results from:

Recent Posts

A Note from a Friend

I received this from John Clancy. Now retired, John worked in the technology side of the industry for decades. I don’t think this needs any

Read More »

Look out the Window

If there is any advice I can give it’s concerning the passing scene. “Look out the window.” Rather than listen to CNN or the New

Read More »


Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy