New stadiums, cultural attraction, crushing debts and erratic public officials ... what do you get the city that has everything?
That question has been on everyone's lips this holiday season. With its symphonies and sporting events, Pittsburgh has given so much over the years, and it's asked for so little. But now that the cash-strapped municipality has little more than coal in its stocking, suburbanites and state senators alike have been pondering how to give something back in Pittsburgh's time of need.
Just before Thanksgiving, state officials got into the holiday spirit by gift-wrapping a financial bailout package including new taxes and job cuts. But maybe you don't think a $42 hike in your annual occupational privilege tax is enough. Maybe your business could do just a little more to help his holiday season.
After all, who hasn't said, "Gosh, I'd love to buy Mayor Tom Murphy a snowplow -- if only I knew how much it cost"? Or "I'd help eliminate the city's rat population -- but I can't find an exterminator in the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue!" And what to get the Port Authority, facing a $30 million deficit next year? Or state highway crews who can barely find the time to fix bridges?
Just in time, the City Paper gift guide is here to help with some last-minute shopping ideas. Our elves have worked overtime to figure out the cost of some of the government services we all take for granted. If you see something your favorite public-works employee has been dying to have ... well, just send a check or money order to the appropriate government agency this year.
There's nothing better than a new taser or a newly refurbished bridge deck to say, "You're very special to me." And isn't that what the holidays are all about?
-- City Paper
31st St Bridge
last-minute stocking stuffers