Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 10:31 AM | Contributed by GregLeg
The state House has angered West Mifflin officials by approving a bill to permit Kennywood Park to stop paying $1.5 million a year in amusement tax revenue to the borough and school district. House Bill 1082 was approved Tuesday night by a vote of 153-39, with support from state Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak, but opposition from Rep. Ken Ruffing, D-West Mifflin. Mr. Gergely, whose district includes the section of West Mifflin where the park sits, said it's unfair that Kennywood is the only West Mifflin venue that has to pay the amusement tax.
Read more from The Post-Gazette.
The bill bars the amusement tax from being used at "a fixed site amusement park that has been designated a national historic landmark by the National Park Service.''
The special protection seems kind of strange. Historic or not, isn't Kennywood a for-profit business? I mean, if you're going to get rid of the tax, then just get rid of it. Why write in a loophole?
"Why is the state dealing with a local situation?'' Mr. Bednar said.
"The state should deal with statewide issues. If you don't want the amusement tax, then [the Legislature should] come up with comprehensive tax reform.''
I would tend to agree with that.
"The problem we have is that we are in competition with parks that don't have that tax,'' such as Geauga Lake and Cedar Point in Ohio.
That's not true. Cedar Point pays a 3 percent admission tax to Sandusky.
I'm not saying I'm for or against this, or any other "tourist tax." But this issue really isn't unique to Kennywood.
I appears that turnabout is fair play, and Mr. Bednar does not enjoy the taste of his own medicine.
This is what is meant by "playing politics"! :(
Singling out Kennywood for taxation was BS in the first place. IMHO the Borough ought to be forced to pay back what Kennywood and its guest were forced to pay.
Tax em all or none at all. Thats all Im saying and I said the same thing when the City of Mason proposed a tax on Kings Island only.
IMO, the state should stop taxation on all of the parks. CLP and Bushkill need every bit of help that they can get and Knoebels needs to recover from the flood. Why should parkgoers or parks subsidize these small communities that just happen to be fortunate enough to have a park in them?*** This post was edited by Arthur Bahl 6/30/2006 9:42:09 PM ***
IMO, however, the main changes need to be made at Kennycorp's other parks. Idlewild could use a new wooden coaster more than KW to braoden the appeal to families with older kids. Sandcastle needs some newer water attractions. Most important of all is LC. This park is underutilized relative to its size and could benefit from attractions that would broaden its appeal vs. SFNE and Rye Playland. LC, if expanded properly, could be promoted strongly in the Boston and New York areas and could experience tremendous growth in attendance.
But you are probably right in that a tax isn't preventing them from doing any expansion with the park. If that were the case, one would have to question their financial footing.
With the tax removed, the park can consider building something major before the highway plans are finalized. They have to remember that GLs attendance is still in the tank for now but in several years that park could be a formidable competitor again. Also, Waldameer will be getting a big new coaster soon and will probably start advertising in the Pittsburgh area when this happens.
They still haven't learned that it's their greed and ineptitude that has resulted in PA being one of the biggest job losing states over the past 30 years, and one of the lowest for creating new jobs. No wonder why we're consistently voted as one of the worst states in which to do business.
There's a reason that they don't do major advertising outside of a certain area. They feel that if people from all over descend on the park, it'll be overcrowded. That plus the confusing drive to the park may turn people off for good. Highway = expansion = more room for people = more rides = more advertising = more people.
As for where should the park spend this money, you have to remember that they never raised the ticket prices to reflect this tax even though that is where it is imposed. Kennywood won't have an extra $1.5 mil, they're just not going to be paying it.
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