Liquor Store Privatization
This winter, a snow storm knocked the power out at the Continental Tavern, but Frank used a generator to keep his doors open and his customers in good spirits. The crowded tavern became so busy that Frank needed to restock, but when he went to the closest government-run liquor store, he found it closed. Thanks to the PLCB Frank had to make do with what he had.
March 17, 2014, HARRISBURG, PA—Today, a state Ethics Commission investigation revealed rampant corruption and abuse of power at the troubled Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Three former senior PLCB officials, including the former Chief Executive Joe Conti, were accused of using their government positions for personal gain and ordered to repay the commonwealth.
January 17, 2014, HARRISBURG, Pa — 94 years ago today, Prohibition began in Pennsylvania and across the country. While the intervening years have seen almost every other state freed from the shackles of state-controlled liquor, Pennsylvania remains nearly a century behind the times—and power politics enabled by public resources are the cause.
As the partisan divide plays out in Washington, it's encouraging to see one policy battle in Pennsylvania with support on both sides of the political spectrum. Across the state, voters remain unified in their support of allowing private stores to sell wine and liquor. Unfortunately for consumers, inside the state Capitol, bipartisan unity on this issue has been harder to come by.
October 1, 2013, HARRISBURG, Pa – Despite a million-dollar misinformation campaign run by the union leaders of the government liquor stores, Pennsylvanians continue to express wide support for allowing private stores to sell wine and liquor in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced “record revenue and net income” during fiscal year 2012-2013, touting contributions to the state General Fund of $512 million. The problem is they’re only telling half the story.
Why haven’t liquor privatization and pension reform passed yet here in Pennsylvania? The reason is that the true divide in the General Assembly is not between the Republicans and Democrats, but between the Big Government Party and the Taxpayer Party.
Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, issued a response to Sen. McIlhinney’s liquor reform proposal.
If lower prices and greater selection are what you’re looking for, you won’t get it unless the government privatizes retail and wholesale operations. If the PLCB maintains its monopoly on wholesale operations, you may be able to find wine and liquor more easily, but the government will still determine what products you can choose.
A new poll conducted on June 11th by Red Maverick Media shows that Pennsylvania voters want to end the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s monopoly over the wholesale distribution of wine and spirits. 52 percent of likely voters said that privatizing retail alcohol sales but keeping the government wholesale monopoly is insufficient.
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The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank. The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.