PITTSBURGH - A stiff drink comes with a stiff tax in Pittsburgh and surrounding towns these days, and that has made the county executive public enemy No. 1 in some quarters, reviled by name in song and on bar bills.

Even comedians have gotten into the act, complaining that rising drink tabs meant fewer people coming to see them perform and pouring wine and liquor into a river in a mock restaging of the Boston Tea Party.

The 10 percent drink tax, in effect since January, was pushed along by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato to subsidize public transit. The two-term Democrat says he had no choice; swallow that, he said, or property taxes would have to be hiked.

Many bar and restaurant owners are frothing over the county surcharge, and are making sure that the name of its sponsor is as well-known as, say, Sam Adams and Jim Beam. With rising fuel and food costs and a weak economy, they say, the tax is just one big fly in their beer.
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