RAMPing Up PA Liquor Control Board’s Monopoly Power

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the largest supplier of alcohol in the world, recently enacted regulations to become the sole provider of its now-mandated educational program for Pennsylvania businesses, the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP).

In the past, independent instructors could be approved to teach RAMP. But in June this year, the state board decided it was too confusing to certify outside businesses and now only the liquor control board is authorized to teach the curriculum.

Let’s delve into the cost of our new legislation, according to Liquor Control Board itself:

“The current annual cost of RAMP to the Board is $1,011,551.37. This is funded from proceeds of selling liquor, not taxes.”

Of course, having a monopoly on liquor sales means the PLCB collects a mark-up on alcohol sold, essentially a tax (on top of liquor and sales taxes already). But don’t you worry taxpayers:

[B]alanced against the cost of RAMP to the Board is the unquantifiable benefit to the public from licensees and server/sellers that receive training in the practical and legal aspects of alcohol management.

In addition, the costs to the employers to become RAMP certified must also be accounted for. “Estimated costs are $25-$40 per employee for retail licensee”, plus the non-monetary costs associated with paperwork.

Now we have a coercive state that not only monopolizes sales of alcohol and licenses, but is also the sole provider of the education required for anyone trying to make a living in a business that serves alcohol.

Studies show that alcohol monopolies do little to affect consumption or abuse. In the end, individuals will do what it takes to get a drink, unfortunately that drink will be more expensive now in the Commonwealth.

For more on how the state should deal with the Liquor Board monopoly, take a look at our previous article on reasons to Privatize state liquor stores.