Newspapers Endorse Pennsylvania Liquor Store Privatization

Following our report showing that moving from state-run liquor stores to licensure has little impact on alcohol consumption, underage drinking, and DUI rates, Pennsylvania papers are again joining the call for liquor store privatization.

On Thursday, the Patriot News editorialized that

Our legislators need to act. As the Commonwealth Foundation study said so well: “Evidence from 48 states over time shows no link between market controls and these social goals.

Divestiture of Pennsylvania’s state liquor stores would represent a financial windfall to the state, while posing no threat to public safety, as it would not result in the social ills many opponents of privatization fear.”

It is no longer 1933. It is time for the state to get out of the liquor control business.

Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review also endorsed privatization:

“Government-Run Liquor Stores: The Social Impact of Privatization” (available at says privatizing sales lowers per-capita consumption and DUI-related fatality rates and doesn’t increase underage drinking….

Yet those advantaged by the status quo — Harrisburg politicians beholden to unionized state store employees and turf-guarding beer distributors — cite that bogus nanny-state rationale to deny this budget-challenged state and its beleaguered taxpayers and consumers that huge windfall.

It’s past time that Harrisburg put the public’s interests first by getting out of the alcohol business — a business that the state never had any business being in.

Of course, some bloggers have suggested this is all part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy, noting that Richard Mellon Scaife owns the Tribune Review, and his foundation gives to the Commonwealth Foundation (though the attack-bloggers double count those contributions). Apparently, we have also brainwashed the Patriot News editorial board.

That is the same demagoguery on display by the unions.

Wendell Young, president of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents 3,000 state liquor store employees, said he is not surprised that the foundation funds a study that is going after the state store system as a way for businesses to make more money. He describes the foundation as a “right-wing, pro-business group.”

When you can’t argue with the facts, you have to resort to ad-hominem attacks.