The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board called our offices to let us know we were misinformed when we noted that PLCB Chairman Joe Conti co-sponsored legislation to privatize the liquor stores back in his days as a lawmaker. We, of course, were correct.
Back in 1997, as member of the PA House of Representatives, Joe Conti was a co-sponsor of HB 1346, which would privatize the sale of wine and spirits in the commonwealth.
The text of this legislation includes the following:
(1) the sale of liquor and wine at retail should no longer be by the Commonwealth, but rather by retail licensees;
(2) the health and welfare of the citizens of this Commonwealth will be adequately protected by the regulation of private licensees through strict enforcement of laws and rules relating to the sale of liquor and wine;
(3) the sale of liquor and wine through retail licenses will improve customer service, selection and price; and
(4) the operation and efficiency of State government will be improved.
Now Mr. Conti opposes privatizing the PLCB, the agency from which he draws a salary, coincidentally, after being appointed to a previously non-existent position by Gov. Ed Rendell. Yesterday he spoke to the Senate Law and Justice Committee, claiming allowing private, licensed retailers to sell wine and spirits would be dangerous. He then asked for more flexibility for the state stores to act like a private retailer in pricing, hiring, marketing and hours in order to generate a “multimillion-dollar increase in yearly sales.”