Liquor Store Privatization
It shouldn’t take a double shot of liquid courage to finally end Prohibition in Pennsylvania. With pension deficits, revenue shortfalls, PLCB ethics violations, and consistent popular support, this should be a political no-brainer—no matter how much you’ve had to drink.
In his 2015 budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf urged dissenters, “If you don’t agree with my ideas, here is my request: please come with your own ideas. It's not good enough to just say no and continue with the same old same old.” Talk is one thing—action is another.
Just as Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence, Wolf opted to keep consumers bound by a government system that offers less convenience, fewer choices, and higher prices.
Last night, the Pennsylvania General Assembly sent historic liquor privatization legislation to Gov. Wolf’s desk, promising to finally end Pennsylvania’s Prohibition-era, government-run monopoly of wine and spirits sales and join 48 other states that embrace some form of privatization.
February 26, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—In 2013, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed the first liquor privatization bill since Prohibition’s end more than 80 years ago. Today, the state House recommitted to expanding choice and convenience for wine and spirits consumers by passing liquor store privatization again—a lucrative move for both taxpayers and consumers.
Pennsylvania added nearly two dozen new lawmakers in November, and there’s a new face in the Governor’s Mansion. Indeed, that face will look very new, as Tom Wolf is the first Pennsylvania governor with a beard in more than a century. Unfortunately, the big problems facing taxpayers haven’t changed in years.
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.
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