Pennsylvania Still Charges a Tax It Implemented to Pay For a Flood in 1936

When the late union labor leader Samuel Gompers was asked what organized labor wants, his answer was a single word: more.

The government’s attitude towards taxation is just the same. Every tax that begins as a temporary tax becomes permanent before you know it. The modern death tax (or “estate tax”as some liberals like to call it) was implemented and then increased to pay for WWI, and we’re still paying it today.

At least we’re dead when we pay for that tax – but the residents of Pennsylvania are still paying a tax – and a large one – for damages the State suffered… in 1936.

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. “And yet the tax continued.”

“It continued and it was even expanded,” he says.

And that’s the rub. Nearly 70 years after Johnstown was rebuilt, the hidden flood tax adds 18 percent to the cost of buying alcohol in this state. It surprises most consumers.

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.

H/T CBS Pittsburgh


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