Pennsylvanians Still Paying Tax To Rebuild Town Flooded In 1936

It’s been 122 years since Johnstown, PA, was nearly wiped off the face of the planet by a flood that killed more than 2,000 people. And it’s been 75 years since even more damage was done to the down by the St. Patrick’s Day flood of 1936, spurring the commonwealth to enact a tax on alcohol sales to help rebuild the town. Luckily, that tax was only needed for a few years, so it’s obviously long since been repealed… right?

“By 1942, they had sufficient funds to rebuild the city,” State Rep. Jim Marshall tells CBS Pittsburgh. “And yet the tax continued.”

The tax adds around 18% to the cost of booze in PA, a state already well known for its byzantine and arcane approach to the sale of alcohol.

Marshall says that there have been “about 13 bills to repeal or reduce the tax,” since 1997, but it’s easy to see why the tax hasn’t been repealed when you see that it brings in around $200 million each year to the state’s general revenue fund.

70 Years Later, Pennsylvanians Still Paying Johnstown Flood Tax [KDKA]