Pittsburgh’s Drink Tax Reduced

December 3, 2008

Last night the Allegheny County council voted to reduce the county’s 10 percent tax on poured drinks. the Pittsburgh Business Times reports:

After substantial discussion over how much to reduce the tax, [the Allegheny] county council voted 13-0 with two abstentions to reduce the tax from 10 percent to seven percent. The measure was passed as part of council’s approval of the county’s $762.7 million budget for 2009. The budget did not include any proposed increase in real estate taxes, a fact which was heralded by a number of real estate professionals in attendance.

Since its passage in December 2007 the 10 percent drink tax has raised between $10 and $20 million more than is needed or expected, which has upset many residents and business owners. The revenue is dedicated to matching funds for the Port Authority, which owns and operates the county’s public transportation system. The matching funds have not yet been paid to the Port Authority because county executive Dan Onorato is waiting until the company and its union can come to an agreement on a new contract.

There is also still a possibility that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will allow a referendum to be placed on May’s ballot. The proposed referendum would let voters choose whether to further reduce the drink tax to 0.5 percent.

The county’s $2 rental car tax that was originally passed with the drink tax is unchanged for 2009. Read more about Pittsburgh’s drink tax here, here, here and here.

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