I'd like to respond to Jim Waite's Feb. 17 letter ("Alcohol and Revenue"), in which he advocated lowering the drinking age to 18 and increasing taxes for all alcohol purchases to cover Pittsburgh's pension fund deficit. I don't think this idea would ever work.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has already publicly wondered about the city going after Allegheny County drink tax money. The City Council budget director said about $15 million of the drink tax is collected from establishments located within the city ("Council Members Push City to Get Share of County Drink Tax," Dec. 4). The city, of course, is looking for its piece of the pie. However, it is doubtful the city would get it.
The state allowed the county to levy the drink tax as long as 100 percent of the money went to subsidize the Port Authority. In fact, Allegheny County Judge Judith F. Olson ruled in January 2009 that the money could only be used for the Port Authority, not for roads and bridges (on which County Executive Dan Onorato wanted to spend the excess $12 million collected).
For the city to make money under Mr. Waite's scheme, it would have to levy a special drink tax, and that injustice is already being perpetrated by our county government.
Let the city solve its own mess, and let's get rid of these unfair taxes.