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New Bill Could Mean Higher Taxes On Drinking Or Working In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you live, work or dine in certain communities like the city of Pittsburgh -- you could get an unexpected jolt to your wallet, like a separate city-imposed drink tax.

"I don't think we need it," said Travis Johnson of Monroeville. "We got enough taxes."

"How much more can you tax drinks?" asked Jessica Brooks of Swissvale.

Apparently a lot more -- a special task force is now proposing that cities like Pittsburgh -- that are in financial distress under Act 47 -- be allowed to tax their way to solvency.

Under the proposed bill, any community in Act 47 distress would be allowed to impose its own drink tax within its borders or, alternatively, to triple the local services tax -- that's the $52 tax for the privilege of working in that community.

Meaning that tax could jump to $156 for anyone working in a distressed city like Pittsburgh.

Other local Act 47 communities, possibly facing higher taxes include:

  • Aliquippa
  • Braddock
  • Clairton
  • Duquesne
  • New Castle
  • Rankin

Even though the tax is supposed to be temporary, it's not a good idea says Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bill Peduto.

"We don't need a new drink tax in order to be able to get to financial stability," Peduto said.

And many say it will only keep people out of the city and its restaurants.

"If you add a drink tax on top of that, you might be looking to drive people out of the city," said Cynthia Logan of Shaler.

"It's expensive to go out as it is right now, so adding more taxes to it will probably just keep me home," said India Brinson of McKees Rocks.

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