Pennsylvanians Want Full Liquor Privatization

OCTOBER 1, 2013 | by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Voters have spoken, and they still want liquor privatization.

Despite a million-dollar misinformation campaign run by the union leaders of the government liquor stores, Pennsylvanians of all party affiliations continue to express support for allowing private stores to sell wine and liquor in Pennsylvania.

A new survey—the most comprehensive examination of Pennsylvanians’ attitudes towards liquor privatization to date—shows that two-thirds of likely voters want to privatize Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and spirits system.  Strong, bipartisan support for the measure was revealed, even among union households. When voters were asked about the benefits privatization would bring, they gave the following answers:

  • lower prices,
  • more jobs for Pennsylvanians,
  • an end to border bleed,
  • the elimination of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s conflict of interest in being both a purveyor and regulator of alcohol

The survey, which was co-sponsored by CF and Keystone Politics, and conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies, consisted of more than 1,100 Pennsylvania residents and likely voters. It found 70 percent of Republicans and Independents, nearly 60 percent of liberals and 55 percent of union households favored abolishing the state-run liquor monopoly.  Moreover, more than half of Pennsylvanians said they are more likely to vote for state legislators who favor privatization.

A strong majority of consumers (66 percent) support full privatization—removing government from the sale of liquor and licensing private retailers—strongly preferring that over measures that would only allow current retailers like beer distributors to sell wine and spirits.

With the evidence and support for liquor privatization so overwhelming, will lawmakers finally listen to their constituents and get the government out of the booze business?



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The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank.  The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.