Push to Alter Car Rental Tax Gains Backers

Support on Allegheny, Pa. County Council to adjust the car rental tax is growing a week after several councilmen and the county chief executive announced their desire to cut the drink tax, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Nonprofit groups would be exempt from paying the $2-a-day surcharge on rental cars under a 2009 budget proposal by Councilman William Robinson, D-Hill District, the chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee.

The exemptions would cost the county $750,000 in tax revenue, Robinson said, using figures from the county Treasurer's Office.

"If the nonprofits are not taxed at the state level, it seemed to be unfair to complicate things at the local level," Robinson said.

Seven councilmen, including two Republicans, are co-sponsoring the measure. Three of the councilmen asked to be co-sponsors after its introduction at a recent Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

"It's what we should have done initially," Councilman Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, a co-sponsor, said after the meeting.

The car rental tax and a 10 percent drink tax went into effect this year to help fund the Port Authority.

According to the Tribune-Review, County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and several fellow Democrats on council said they want to reduce the drink tax to 7 percent next year because it's bringing in more money than is needed.

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