Alcohol

As the Taxman Played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"

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KDKA-TV tells the tale of an emergency tax passed to rebuild the flood-wrecked town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania:

The old newsreel videos of the Johnstown Flood of 1936 are certainly terrifying as residents flee the rising river. The aftermath left a city destroyed with 30,000 homeless.

With such carnage apparent, Pennsylvania enacted the Johnstown Flood Tax, a tax on every bottle of alcohol purchased in the state. It was enacted to rebuild the city.

"By 1942, they had sufficient funds to rebuild the city," says State Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Beaver Falls.

At which point, of course, the tax was repealed.

Oops, sorry, a typo slipped in there. When I wrote "repealed," I meant to say "kept in place and eventually hiked, with the proceeds diverted from the flood victims to the general fund."

Nearly 70 years after Johnstown was rebuilt, the hidden flood tax adds 18 percent to the cost of buying alcohol in this state….This once temporary tax now generates $200 million a year for the general revenue fund, despite efforts by a few legislators like Marshall to repeal it.

[Via The Consumerist.]