Thursday, December 6, 2007

Allegheny County council approves bar and rental car taxes...

This Tattler is not a fan of tax increases and I'm sure many of you may not be happy with this move. Earlier this week, Allegheny County Council voted to approve two tax levies and most members voted along party lines.

While many Democrats voted in favor of a 10-percent bar tax/ $2 per day rental car tax, most Republicans did not support this effort.

From the Post-Gazette:

Supporting the drink tax were council President Rich Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, and members John DeFazio, D-Shaler, Dave Fawcett, R-Oakmont, James Burn Jr., D-Millvale, Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, Michael J. Finnerty, D-Scott, Joan Cleary, D-Brentwood, Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, Robert J. Macey, D-West Mifflin, and Brenda Frazier, D-Stanton Heights.

Opposed were Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, Jan Rea, R-McCandless, Matt Drozd, R-Ross, and newcomer James Ellenbogen, D-Banksville. Councilman Nick Futules, D-Verona, also a freshman member of council, abstained.

On the rental car tax, Mr. Futules voted yes; Mr. Ellenbogen voted yes; and Mr. Fawcett voted no. All others voted the same as on the drink levy.

The votes of at least 10 of the 15 council members were required to enact the new taxes.
A crowd of restaurateurs and business owners, who packed the Gold Room of the Courthouse, walked out of the council meeting vowing to fight the drink tax.

Kudos to members Matt Drozd (R-Ross) and Jan Rea (R-McCandless) for voting against this levy because this Tattler thinks most tax increases can be avoided. John DeFazio (D-Shaler) unfortunately voted in favor of the increases.

The biggest travesty with this whole situation has to do with the lack of options council members had.

Fat can generally be trimmed off of budgets and it seems like Allegheny County Council members did not embrace that option. Also, the drink tax will most-likely have a detrimental effect on business at local bars and taverns.

This region has enough high taxes, maybe it's time to take a serious look at cuts that could have been made. Hopefully, voters remember this move come election time, especially if Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato plans to run for governor in 2008.

Working to keep you posted...


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Why can't the port authority / Allegheny county in general be treated like any other company... When money is low, MAKE CUTS! Don't expect a handout. What happens when people cross the borders to drink or stop having a drink with dinner (as I plan)? Then the revenue from the new tax goes down, the state-match goes down, and next year we start taxing something else.

Paul said...

Just a correction, Defazio is the At Large member of council. Shaler has the misfortune of being represented by the hyper-partisan and poverty promoting James Burn.

Of course Burns actually spends most of his time representing the interests of the City of Pittsburgh, billionaire sports team owners and developers and finding new ways to cut already poor bus service to the North Hills so calling him our representative is more than a bit misleading.

I don't even need to look to know how he voted.

Paul said...

"Why can't the port authority / Allegheny county in general be treated like any other company... When money is low, MAKE CUTS!"

Cuts, are you joking? Creating and handing out jobs to well connect friends and family members is the grease that has kept the city's political machine in power for seventy years. The county government under Dan Onarato and James Burn is working feverishly to create a similar pay-to-play system in their quest to destroy all private investment and impose absolute, soviet-style, one party rule.

They ain't ever cuttin nutin they ain't forced to cut buddy. We all just better plan to dig deeper as long and Ron Burkle's lap-dogs are in control.