State Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, today called on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to veto the billboard tax that city council approved Tuesday.
Mr. Ferlo said the 10 percent tax on billboard proceeds violates the First Amendment and exceeds the taxing authority granted the city under state law. Jonathan Kamin, an attorney for Lamar Advertising, which owns about 900 billboards in the city, has made similar arguments.
In a statement, Mr. Ferlo said he has been a critic of billboards over the years -- partly because he considers them "litter on a stick"--but still believes council's billboard tax is "wrong-headed and driven by bitter politics rather than sensible policy."
"I believe the passage of a billboard tax, however well-intentioned, is blatantly illegal and counterproductive," he said.
Mr. Ravenstahl may sign the tax into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
Mr. Kamin claims council has a vendetta against the billboard industry and has threatened to sue to overturn the measure, should it become law.
Joe Smydo: email@example.com or 412-263-1548.