View from the bench
Given how effective the drink tax has been locally at collecting revenue without all that much displacement, it's conceivable that the state may look toward higher alcohol taxes as a means to fill their budget problems. That's just speculation, but statewide alcohol taxes don't suffer from the argument that folks are likely to drive consumers across county borders to make their purchases. Some near other states may buy alcohol elsewhere, but if PA's state run liquor distribution system isn't causing that already I am not sure more tax is going to all of a sudden create an exodus of bar patrons to WV, OH, or NY. If Allegheny County alone collected $44 million from the incremental drink and rental taxes even during a defined recession, a statewide version would cover a lot of that statewide budget gap all by itself.
But I am wondering if it going to be the year of the lawyer for the county, and I am an not talking about billboards at all. Some big legal rulings that are in the pipeline. An odd number of search engines hits here of late for terms mentioning Judge Wettick in one form or another. I am just wondering when the State Supreme Court is going to rule on the county's appeal of Judge Wettick's ruling that threw out the base year assessment system currently in place.
Is a ruling getting closer? That would be state-wide news and many counties are already fretting over potential reassessments. Even though Wettick's ruling was against Allegheny County's use of the base year system, if his ruling is validated by the supreme court it could force changes across the state. Tick toc.