Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are huge drivers of the local economy, but City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in Wednesday’s committee meeting that she’s currently unable to quantify that contribution.
“As we were talking about Act 47, I was talking with constituents and they would constantly ask me ‘How much money do we get out of the stadiums?’” Rudiak said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t answer that question.”
In response, Rudiak is pushing legislation authorizing city Controller Michael Lamb to perform an audit of the revenue brought into the city by the entities that occupy the facilities owned by the Pittsburgh Sports and Exhibition Authority and Stadium Authority.
“It will show the annual revenue remitted to the city from the amusement tax, parking tax, payroll tax, earned income tax, and the facilities usage fee,” Rudiak said.
The two authorities work in conjunction with one another, sharing staff and an executive director. Facilities owned by the authorities include CONSOL Energy Center, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and Riverfront Plaza, Heinz Field, PNC Park, North Shore Riverfront Park, various parking garages and the site of the former Civic Arena in the Lower Hill District.
“As we’ve all said, we’ve got to find every penny that we’re owed right now, and I think this is a great place to look,” said Councilman Dan Gilman, who sits on the Sports and Exhibition Authority board. “I look forward to working with you once we get the results to make sure we’re collecting what we should.”
City Council gave preliminary approval to the measure on Wednesday, and will take a final vote next week.
The City Controller’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Rudiak said Deputy Controller Douglas Anderson is supportive of the proposed audit.