Thursday, May 1, 2008

Drink and car rental tax class action lawsuit

Allegheny County bar and restaurant owners are continuing to fight against the 10 percent drink tax implemented in January.

Chris Hoel, an attorney for Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation, or FACT, said the group has worked alongside various business owners to change the lawsuit, filed last December, to a class action. In addition, he wants a referendum to rescind the tax to be placed on the general election ballot this November. Supporters are gathering signatures in support of the ballot initiative.

"The evidence regarding sales and revenue now demonstrates beyond dispute that this is hurting the hospitality industry," Hoel says. "It is damaging the county's economy."

However, County Treasurer John Weinstein says the county could receive $10 million more than anticipated in the first quarter from the drink and car rental tax.

Hoel said it will take at least several months before the lawsuit will be addressed in court, and he expects the county's law department to work hard to defend the drink tax.

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