Pittsburgh council unanimously OKs billboard tax

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously OKs 10-percent tax on billboards to generate revenue

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh City Council has unanimously approved a 10 percent excise tax on billboards, but a leading outdoor advertising company says it will fight the plan in court.

Council voted 9-0 on Tuesday to impose the tax which city officials say could generate up to $4 million annually.

But a lawyer for Lamar Advertising of Baton Rouge, La., says billboards are protected under the First Amendment. Jonathan Kamin says Lamar plans to sue in federal court to stop the tax.

Lamar has used area billboards to criticize council members Darlene Harris and Natalia Rudiak, who sponsored the tax bill.

One billboard lambasting Rudiak said, "Worst Economy In 50 Years. Natalia Rudiak Says: Let's raise taxes."

Kamin says Lamar already paid more than $60,000 in permit fees last year, plus real estate taxes.

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