Liquor Store Privatization
The latest state budget rumors describe a deal to increase the sales tax to provide corresponding property tax relief. Rather than a “dollar-for-dollar” tax shift, this plan would actually increase taxes on all Pennsylvanians by $600 million.
On September 16, 28 days after receiving a budget compromise proposal from legislative Republicans, Gov. Wolf rejected that offer and issued his own plan—to hire a private contractor to manage the government liquor system and slightly modifying his earlier pension proposal. While Wolf’s proposals are significant, they represent bad public policy.
Last week, Governor Wolf revved up his Jeep and resumed his “Government that Works” tour in Lancaster. In an ironic twist, Wolf also promised to veto a temporary funding bill that would actually put government back to work, extending a nearly three-month budget stalemate created by his June 30 veto.
Governor Tom Wolf announced what he termed “historic” liquor and pension reform proposals. Unfortunately, his plans to lease the state’s liquor system while maintaining government ownership and to offer a stacked hybrid pension plan for state employees fail to meet the threshold of true reform.
As the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's (PLCB) former marketing director faces federal charges, this latest scandal shows why it's time to get government out of the booze business.
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.
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