No wonder beer costs so much here: I'm still paying for the Johnstown Flood of 1936.
Johnstown Flood Emergency TaxRead more about "temporary" taxes here.
One such temporary tax that ended up becoming permanent was the 1936 Johnstown flood tax. Although this tax was set to expire in 1937, it was extended various times until the tax became permanent in 1951. Currently, the tax rate is set at 18%.
The Johnstown flood tax was a 10% temporary emergency tax imposed on alcohol sold throughout Pennsylvania. The tax was meant to cover the costs of cleanup and repairs needed after the 1936 flood in Johnstown, PA that year. Although the tax was meant to expire after all the costs were covered, it was instead raised in 1963 to 15% and in 1968 to 18%. Since the money collected covered the costs of the flood many years ago, now the money goes to the states' general fund for discretionary spending. . . .Residents of Pennsylvania have long opposed this tax because of its high rate. The tax is 18% in addition to a sales tax of 6%, bringing the cost of alcoholic drinks up significantly. There are people on both sides of the flood tax debate. Advocacy groups who want to limit alcohol consumption are in favor of the high tax rates, but unions who want to protect liquor resellers who oppose it.