When temporary means FOREVER

Seventy years ago Johnstown, PA was partially destroyed by a flood. You can see video of terrified residents running from the rising rivers here.

As a result of that flood, the state of Pennsylvania enacted an “emergency” tax on all alcohol sold in the Commonwealth. Intended for rebuilding, the “temporary” tax started at 10%. And indeed it was only temporary, because in 1963, it was upped to 15%. LOL.

Then in 1968 they said, “This temporary tax has been a little too not temporary. We need to raise that shit up to 18%.”

And the people rebelled and the people told their politicians they would not vote for them if they didn’t repeal that temporary emergency tax that had become a permanent punishment on buying alcohol in PA.

No, they didn’t. The people it seems aren’t even that aware that the tax still exists. That we’re paying an extra 18% to buy alcohol on top of the 6% sales tax.

But it hasn’t been done away with. 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.

“Since 1997, I think there have been about 13 bills to repeal or reduce the tax,” he recalls.

And all have gone nowhere, says Marshall, because so few people know about this 18 percent hidden tax.

The Johnstown Flood Tax has been with Pennsylvania so long after it finished its job that nobody really thinks it’s going to end any time soon. The key to ending it is public education. If more people know about it and complain to their legislators, it may be repealed.

Is that all we need to do, you guys?

Get mad?

Let’s do that, please?

Think the State can’t afford it?

Pennsylvania collected $1.8 billion in General Fund revenue in May, which was $33.9 million, or 1.9 percent, more than anticipated, Secretary of Revenue Daniel Meuser reported today. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $24.3 billion, which is $539.4 million, or 2.3 percent, above estimate.

That’s one month. This is ridiculous that we’re still paying this and we’re not pissed about it. Let’s get pissed. Let’s email our representatives. Let’s let them know we’re not voting for them unless they vote to repeal this “temporary” tax. Let’s get vocal.

Let’s privatize the PLCB for the love of beer.

Just temporarily.





  1. Virginia
    June 9, 2011 8:49 am

    Government 101, there’s no problem in correcting me.

    I typed “congressman” when I should have typed “representatives and senators” or perhaps you’d prefer “legislators.”

    Thank you for pointing out what I missed in my edit. Mandy is aware that the state also has a senate and house of representatives. It’s easy to see why she would consider that to be classified as a congress. The name calling on your part, though, is a bit much.

    Again though, thank you for pointing out my error. As I do when anyone points out my mistakes, I have corrected it in the post.

    As someone once commented on here, feel free to buy yourself a medal and shove it in my face.

  2. Donncha
    June 9, 2011 8:59 am

    A 75 year old tax on the books, its money going nowhere near its intended target, a $4.2 billion deficit in Harrisburg and Washington playing a game of chicken with the deficit and “Government 101” focuses on a momentary typo.

    To paraphrase Jefferson, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just.”

  3. Government 101
    June 9, 2011 10:12 am

    I’m sorry that everyone seems to want to defend Mandy for her ignorance, seems a strange position to take but you are entitled i guess.

    My original comment was intended to help the blog author and her readers understand where to appropriately direct their anger. But since Mandy decided to open her mout and insert her overly large foot into it, I felt a rebuke was indeed necessary to help ensure that she knew she was not just wrong, but stupid. If anyone of you were offended, well too bad.

    Donncha, inserting quotes by famous people that have nothing to do with the topic at hand won’t make people think your smarter than you are. Sorry.

  4. Mandy
    June 9, 2011 10:27 am

    Yikes. Some people are a little too angry and perhaps have too much time on their hands.

    Ginny: I’ll gladly contribute the money to assist in buying that medal for Gov’t.

    But, being the loser that I am and all, I probably don’t have the necessary funds. ;)

  5. Mandy
    June 9, 2011 10:33 am

    But, while we’re at it: if my comment was “one of the dumbest things you’ve ever heard” you must not get out much. :)

    P.S. I’m sure you completely meant to say it was one of the dumbest things you’ve ever read seeing as you didn’t actually hear me speak.
    But, I’m sure that’s what you meant, right? Otherwise, claiming to hear my typed words would be rather, well, dumb (unless of course you are using speech recognition software).

  6. unsatisfied
    June 9, 2011 12:21 pm

    @government 101: it might be just me and my opinion here. but, I’m thinking that sarah palin’s word jumble description of paul revere’s ride (along with about 99.999% of everything else that she says) just might trump mandy’s comment.

    your desire to “help the blog author and her readers” was overcome by your douchey delivery.

  7. rickh
    June 9, 2011 12:31 pm

    As for aliases, government101 sounds a lot like SRP. Douchebag.

  8. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 9, 2011 1:22 pm

    @Government101 – Your delivery of the message needs some work. You can point out that technically incorrect terminology was used without resorting to insults or name calling. Possibly try adopting a more light-hearted approach similar to that in which I basically relayed the same concept in my comment #15). States utilize various terms for their elected legislative bodies and it is not uncommon for people to use those terms interchangeably and synonomously.

    If you want to get really technical, “moron”, “fool” and “loser” all have specific meanings that make even your usage of them inaccurate. Synononyms are great and everyone has a different way of using them. As long as the intended meaning can be understood (and I believe in the instances of Ginny’s use of congressman and your word choices, the intended meaning was quite clear), everything’s copasetic.

    We’re not getting graded here.

  9. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 9, 2011 1:23 pm

    Oops! My bad for my mispelling. It should be “synonymously”, not “synonomously”.

  10. Mandy
    June 9, 2011 4:29 pm

    Ex-Pat girl: I didn’t even see your comment #15!
    To be fair, my first post to Gov’t was a little on the douchey side, too. But, to also be fair, I was late to the party & only saw Ginny talk about writing to the reps in Harrisburg. When I saw his comment, I thought he was trying to claim our PA elected “peeps” don’t work in Harrisburg, which was obviously wrong. But, really – pa assembly, pa congress. Tad much to get all up in arms over (not you, but D-Gov (my new name for Douchey Government 101). :)

  11. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 9, 2011 4:39 pm

    @Mandy — I agree! I like debate and discussion, but I rarely see the need for yelling and screaming, and name calling never gets you anywhere. ;-)