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Judge: Airport Restaurants Do Not Pay Property Taxes <b></b>

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Pittsburgh-An attorney for the West Allegheny SchoolDistrict in Pennsylvania is planning to appeal a November 27 rulingof the Commonwealth Court that exempts McDonald's, TGIFriday's and other franchised eateries at PittsburghInternational Airport's terminal from paying propertytaxes.

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

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

An attorney representing several businesses in the case wasquick to point out that franchises based at the airport must payemployees more than competitors and must absorb the charges foremployee parking. -Associated Press

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