Monday, August 3rd, marks the last day over 200 Allegheny County bars and restaurants will have to collect petition signatures for a referendum concerning the county's 10 percent tax on poured alcoholic beverages. On Tuesday the petition will need to be submitted with 23,0006 valid signatures to add to the ballot the question of whether or not to cut the drink tax from 10 percent to 0.5 percent.
Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation (FACT) member and owner of The Carlton restaurant Kevin Joyce says he expects to have a enough signatures, but he does not know how many they have exactly to this point.
Voters will already see one ballot question concerning the drink tax in November. Allegheny County Council recently passed a bill adding the question of whether citizens would prefer a property tax hike in lieu of the drink tax.
County Chief Executive Dan Onorato has previously claimed that the only solution to an elimination of the drink tax would be a raise of property taxes.
But FACT members, disagree with the county's question and Onorato's claim. Joyce says that the deficit caused by a smaller drink tax could be covered through more strict management of county resources and tighter budgeting.
Onorato has also said that he believes the potential FACT ballot question could be illegal because it would unbalance the budget.
Currently the drink tax is estimated to raise over $25 million more than the necessary $30 million needed to subsidize public transportation.