Drink tax truth

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

On Jan. 9, the following is attributed to County Executive Dan Onorato's spokesman, Kevin Evanto, in the Pitt News: "It's a consumer tax. It's no different than if you buy food at Giant Eagle or you buy a sweatshirt at the Pitt Shop." Is Mr. Evanto really ignorant to the fact that we do not pay a tax on our groceries or our clothes in Pennsylvania?

While speaking to the Penn Ag Democratic Luncheon, Dan Onorato responded to a drink tax question by saying that it really was not much of a factor anymore since it has been lowered to 7 percent ("Gubernatorial Hopefuls Seek to Harvest Farmers' Support," Jan. 12). That is not what I would call a truthful answer.

If he were truthful he would have noted a courageous judge had issued an injunction to stop the transfer of $12 million to $17 million collected in drink tax money to the general fund. He might have noted that the county has a date with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in March to battle a citizens referendum and defend his charter-bashing referendum hatched with repeated violations of the Sunshine Law. He might have mentioned that Liquor Control Board licensee purchase figures prove just how devastating this tax has been to Allegheny County small businesses. A truthful answer would have acknowledged that the opposition has not waned but is engaged and focused.

After closely monitoring our county executive these past 19 months I would suggest our county government is not "well run" -- but is certainly "well spun."

The Carlton

The writer is on the executive board of Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation.


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