Towns, Gowns, and Taxes

Higher education helped save Pittsburgh, so why are the two sides still fighting?

Debate Over Taxes Sullies Town-Gown Relations in Pittsburgh 1

John Beale for The Chronicle

In Pittsburgh, about a third of all property value is nontaxable. The campuses of Carnegie Mellon U. and the U. of Pittsburgh dominate the Oakland neighborhood.

When Pittsburgh played host to a summit of the world's 20 largest economies last fall, local politicians proclaimed it "Transformation City," trumpeting its evolution from sooty steel town to booming high-tech hub.

Unemployment in the region, they noted, was tracking lower than the U.S. jobless rate, while property values continued to climb, bucking national trends. More than 100 multinational corporations—in robotics, life sciences, and financial services, among other