Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 9:32 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Kennywood's top executive told elected officials in West Mifflin last night to stop balancing the borough's annual budget with taxes that target the amusement park. About $1.4 million of the proposed $11.7 million budget for 2005 comes from Kennywood, Pete McAneny, president of Kennywood Entertainment, said in a public hearing before the borough council. He says that income tax hurts seasonal teen workers and amusement tax puts a burden on the park in the face of increasing competition from Geauga Lake.
Theoretically, the tax increase was to equate to $1.00 per week. Unfortunately, it won't be taken out of people's paychecks that way as it will be taken out of their first paycheck for the year in one lump sum. That's where it will sting the most, especially to those who make lower wages like the minimum wage seasonal employees of Kennywood. If they could spread the tax out over the year, it might not hurt as much.
As for Laughin' Sal (the laughing lady at KP's train station), she's a piece of Kennywood history. She started laughing during some of the nation's darkest times (the Depression and WWII), and she's still laughing today. I hope she keeps laughing for a long, long time at Kennywood!
Also, I wouldn't worry too much about Kennywood closing it's gates for good anytime soon. Even though some have commented on the addition of no 'new' rides, the park is still very financially sound and has been consistently improving infrastructure within the park. Although some people will no doubt visit Geauga Lake in 2005 instead of Kennywood, I think that will be a small minority, mostly from areas that are midway between the two parks. Unlike Geauga, Kennywood's attendance has stayed relatively stable over the years. Geauga Lake, however, took a HUGE hit in attendance after Six Flags sold the park, mainly because of the closure of the wildlife (Sea World) side of the park. I realize Cedar Fair had just over a month to change everything over and come up with a new (though abysmal) advertising strategy. With the addition of Wildwater Kingdom, the new lower admission price, and a new advertising agency, it will be interesting to see how the attendance level will increase at GL, and the impact, if any, it may have on Kennywood and Sandcastle. Unlike other regions of the country, Pittsburgh area residents are more 'loyal' to their local park, mainly because of school picnics and other community and ethnic driven events at the park. Even with these new tax increases, I think Kennywood's future is sound. They will adjust to it, if need be. They're just not going to let it happen without a fight, which I don't blame them.*** This post was edited by Brother Dave 12/24/2004 10:14:55 AM ***
The way the Article reads it $52 for everyone that works in West Mifflin, PA. If that isn't true and it is just on KW Employees, then it is an unfair tax for workers there and KW would have every right to fight this. How would you like it if you ran a business and the town you have it in passes a tax that would only affect you? You would fight it.
The tax increase is for the entire borough of West Mifflin. However, the employer that will feel most of its wrath is Kennywood, which is just teaming with minimum-wage young employees. It's kind of like that proposed parking tax increase in Sandusky... while the tax would have applied to everyone in the city, it was most definitely aimed at Cedar Point.
I wouldn't say that the $52.00 tax is aimed solely at Kennywood. It's aimed at ALL persons employed in West Mifflin. It's just that minimum wage seasonal employees (like Kennywood's), will feel the sting most by it due to their already low salaries. On the other hand, the Amusement Tax increase that occurred last year was almost definitely aimed at Kennywood, which is really unfair. I think bowling alleys and movie theatres fell into this category, too. But, the biggest 'amusement' in West Mifflin is definitely Kennywood, and West Mifflin council knew this when they passed the tax.
The approval for the new occupation tax in Pittsburgh by the state also allows other municipalities to levy it as well. West Mifflin council, as well as many other PA municipalities, are jumping on this as a legalized new way to increase revenue. I would venture to guess that most, if not all, PA municipalities will eventually raise their occupation tax in the next couple of years.*** This post was edited by Brother Dave 12/27/2004 9:48:11 AM ***
Ok, my bad, I apologize, I only read the article once and must have glossed over that. I was mainly arguing based on what I was reading in people's posts which made it sound like West Mifflin was a part of the City. West Mifflin is not that bad off of a place, now I understand the uproar about targeting Kennywood - one of few places in West Mifflin that would attract a large number of workers living outside the borough (thereby not paying to support the emergency services that serve them while they're at work.).
I still feel that the tax is fully justified for downtown Pittsburgh, but that's no longer a part of the conversation ;) Sorry to have caused so much confusion, largely on my part!
The boro finds it easier to pluck the golden goose than make itself more attractive to other businesses. This is nothing new. Kennywood has been one of, if not the major taxpayer in West Mifflin for quite a number of years now. They are not in a position top pull up stakes and leave. The boro council knows this and takes unfair advantage of this fact. This act in itself would deter other businesses from setting up shop within the boro limits. It's very short sighted, and unfortunately very typical.