Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Save the film tax credit!

A friend of mine put together this video (hopefully it will embed correctly) about the film tax credit.  It comes down to the fact that if the tax credit is not in the budget, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh specifically, is going to lose out on a lot of jobs and revenue.  Christopher Nolan has already been spotted downtown scouting out locations for the third Batman movie, but he’s gone on record saying that he won’t be able to film in Pittsburgh without the tax credit.

Please call the Governor and let him know that you support the tax credit.  Pittsburgh needs a hero.


Confusion at Rivers

Some friends and I went to Rivers Casino last night (I ended up in the black for the night…less than a dollar in the black, but a win is a win!) and I was confused.

First of all, I could not find the Star Wars slots, which made me really sad.  I did however, find the Survivor slot machines, which were a lot of fun, and I tended to win a lot on them!

My confusion however, came when we first stepped off the elevator.  We were greeted by employees checking IDs.  Hadn’t done that before, but I can certainly understand it.  I was given a purple bracelet, as were two of my friends, the third was not.  When asked what they were for, we were greeted with blank stares.  The only discernible pattern was that the one friend who didn’t get a band is a woman.  Two that got bands were players club members, as well as one who wasn’t.  Anyone have any ideas?

Returning the money

Taking a quick break from the road to the Superbowl, a link was posted by The Post-Gazette (at least I’m pretty sure it was the PG).  Remember a while back there was that big to do about the automatic pay raises that the members of the State House and Senate get?  Slowly but surely, most of them promised not to take it.

Well, from what I can gather, it seems that the raise is given out no matter what (probably something to do with their payroll system), and no foul there, no one can really control that I suppose except the Accounting department.  Well, as it turns out, only one third of the lawmakers have returned their pay raises thus far.

Interesting read, check it out, and be sure to contact your congressman if you feel he or she has a check to write.

Primanti’s will save the economy

Primanti'sIn a recent New York Times article, John Schwartz discusses the CEOs of the big three automakers and their road trip from Detroit to D.C.:

The prospect of the executives motoring along more than 500 miles of highway to Washington — a trip of about nine hours, not counting a possible stop in Pittsburgh for a sandwich at Primanti Brothers — introduces an element of ritualistic public relations gamesmanship

Who knows, maybe the secret to economic success is hidden somewhere in the delicious coleslaw and fries.

(h/t to PR Junkie)

From Chicago: the PayStation

Just got back from Chicago and the annual meeting of the American Medical Association; we did our usual round of complaining, but we also sent 400 medical students out into the streets (well, the stadiums) to advocate for the uninsured, and we passed some damn good policy in a number of areas. While there, I encountered an amazing urban innovation: the PayStation (warning, 3MB PDF). It’s a blue-box vending machine, scattered around the city, at which you can pay your parking tickets, city fees, and taxes.

I’m not sure whether this is a stroke of genius or idiocy. I suppose it has the potential to allow elimination of some patronage jobs in City Hall (good luck, given that Chicago’s Democratic politics put us to shame), and it’s nice to be able to pay by credit card without a “convenience fee”, but do people really fail to pay parking tickets simply because there wasn’t a little ATM thingy in their neighborhood? I, at least, generally fail to pay parking tickets because I’m in traffic court explaining to the judge why said ticket is unfair. (3 for 3 thus far, and kudos to the poor judge who sits there all day and listens to sob stories like mine.)

You tell me: would you want to see these things come to Pittsburgh? Me, I’d rather have more Council to Go.

Don’t Worry, Hi-Tops Is An Anomaly

The Post Gazette which is always there to paint a smiley on every rotten egg the local government lays had a hard time with the Hi-Tops story.One is left to wonder how serious people could have built a business plan on such fragile ground and lays out in detail just how damaging the double stadiums are to economic life on the North Side.

Harold Rothstein,a consultant for the bar said.”The Pirates got great tradition and we were here for the worst six years in the history of the Pirates and I think that’s a big economic factor.” So, basically the place depended on just the teams and was counting on winning seasons? “And while Hi-Tops crowds swelled on Pirates game days, they never were quite as large as they could have been had the team been winning. “On game days, it’s great. On non-game days, it’s a ghost town,” he added.”

According to Robert Lampl, HT’s attorney, they were paying 30,000 a month in rent, and sited the fact the business way productive only about 100 days a year. He said the bars owners expected faster development near the stadiums which would create foot traffic. But we can see now how much the teams need parking and that calls most development into doubt.

Several, of the other business owners interviewed admitted how slow, the area was in the Pirates off season but none seemed to be in the bleak shape of Hi-Tops. Some of them are getting business from the local office crowd and may be getting a little business from the small downtown residential population, local populations that probably would have been much bigger if the stadiums had never been built.

Hi-Tops Closes

That’s right folks, the wonderfully planned area near the stadiums seems to have trouble supporting sports bars. Sixty Five employees were let go on Sunday.

The restaurant’s owner, Hi-Tops Pittsburgh USA LP, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in March. Rothstein said high rent and pressure from a lender were other major factors in the business’s problems. The business made an unsuccessful attempt recently to buy its building.

The owners are partly blaming the fact that the Pirates suck– perhaps the problem is they haven’t sucked down enough tax money?

The True Cost Of…

an iPhone is $2,206.92 over 2 years. Check out this post on the Mint blog. Mint is still in beta, but I think it is a new website for managing your money. They have some really interesting articles on the Mint blog. I have always had a fascination with smart money management and I was reminded at lunch today that I frequently use the term penny wise and pound foolish.
I find this number for the true cost of and iPhone to be interesting. I actually thought it would be higher. I think it is not crazy to spend $1000/year on a cell phone. While at first $1000/year on a cell phone seems crazy, that little cell phone, at a cost of about $100/month lets me do lots of things. I can jump on a conference call from anywhere. I can quickly check an email. So for me, I think it is an expense that is worth the investment.
the folks at Mint also list out the true costs of having a dog, owning a house, driving a car and raising a kid. The true cost of dog ownership is – around $12,000 – I was surprised by that one. What do you think – is your dog worth $12,000? I wonder how much a cat costs? Don’t forget to factor in cat licensing.

Sodom Vs: Gomorrah

Doing these posts on competitive eating has made me think long and hard about what Pittsburgh needs to do if it hopes to stay competitive and attract people. New York now is attracting the most people at the same time the Nathan’s contest is exploding. Is this an accident or does it point to what it takes to make it in the new world.

Philly has made a lot of progress with it’s downtown. Events like this must help. When a loser brings up Sodom or Gomorrah— ask them what the economic statistics were for those cities. This isn’t about strippers and projectile vomitingit’s about jobs and growth.

“Since then, media coverage has grown to the point where every one of the major Philadelphia television stations has covered the event. The ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates all aired live reports from the event during their morning news. Features on the event have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News as well as a host of newspapers in the surrounding counties. The event has been featured on ESPN and the syndicated television shows Real TV and The Montel Williams Show. Segments on Wing Bowl have appeared on TV newscasts in cities throughout the country. Several Wing Bowl contestants, including “El Wingador,” competed in Fox’s “Glutton Bowl” in the spring of 2002. The 2007 Wing Bowl was carried on Comcast Cable‘s On Demand channel.

Former Philadelphia Mayor and current Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell attended Wing Bowls II, III, IV and VI, where he presented the winner with a “Liberty Bell” trophy. Other celebrities who have appeared include retired heavyweight boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb, former 76ers President Pat Croce, former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and others. Major-league umpire Eric Gregg served as the “Commissioner” of Wing Bowl from its second year until his death from a stroke on June 5, 2006. On December 4, 2006, it was announced that Pat Croce will be the new commissioner.”

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.