Judge: Airport Restaurants Do Not Pay Property Taxes

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Pittsburgh-An attorney for the West Allegheny School District in Pennsylvania is planning to appeal a November 27 ruling of the Commonwealth Court that exempts McDonald's, TGI Friday's and other franchised eateries at Pittsburgh International Airport's terminal from paying property taxes.

Reversing a previous decision by the tax review board, Allegheny County Judge Stanton Wettick said the restaurants are necessary if the airport, which is owned by Allegheny County, is to continue to meet the needs of the modern traveler.

In making his ruling, Wettick cited a 1967 state Supreme Court decision acknowledging that an airport's hotel, restaurant, newsstand and drugstore food bar are to be considered essential due to the changing nature of air travel and are therefore exempt.

An attorney representing several businesses in the case was quick to point out that franchises based at the airport must pay employees more than competitors and must absorb the charges for employee parking. -Associated Press

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