"Pittsburgh City Council is scrounging for every spare dollar to limit a potential tax increase.
City leaders including Mayor Bill Peduto have eyed adding a percentage point to realty transfer taxes, now at 4 percent, to fill an affordable housing trust fund that council approved last year. Others balk at the idea, fearing it could discourage home buyers from settling in the city.
On Wednesday, four council members backed a hybrid approach that would draw on other city sources to help cover the trust fund and improvements in early childhood education. Supporters said the move should draw the prospective tax hike below one percentage point.
'We’re metaphorically turning over the couch cushions and trying to find every spare piece of change that we can,' Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said. Early childhood education marks 'the highest return on investment for our citizens,' she said, with research showing the programs reduce crime, drop-out rates and drug use."