Commonwealth Foundation denounced a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board press release today for its failure to disclose all the fiscal facts and for boasting about a government-run monopoly on liquor sales that has forced Pennsylvania consumers into bootlegging and breathalyzers.
“It’s sadly ironic that a government agency that has stolen personal and economic freedom from citizens and business owners is using the day after Independence Day to brag about a government-run monopoly making so-called profits,” said Jay Ostrich, a CF spokesman. “When it comes to freedom, government in the booze business is a lose business.”
The government agency conveniently forgets to report the more than $215 million paid in salaries, benefits and pensions annually to government employees as well as the sobering $90,000 per store spent in yearly taxpayer-funded advertising under a monopolized government system. Moreover, it neglects to mention that more than 80 percent of the transfers it boasted about are in sales tax and liquor taxes that would go to the state regardless of the PLCB’s existence.
State coffers will also never see the untold millions of dollars lost in “border bleed” due to Pennsylvanians being driven to neighboring states while seeking liquor independence in the form of more choice and often better prices, said Ostrich.
“The un-American idea of government running a business for profit is more Soviet-style perestroika than Pennsylvania,” said Ostrich. “It’s time government stopped acting like privatization and just started acting to privatize.”
The PLCB has recently undergone a series of poor attempts to mimic privatization including a failed wine kiosk program that Wegmans supermarkets kicked to the curb last month because they found it “in some ways (to) have been detrimental to our stores.” For their part, PLCB Chairman P.J. Stapleton called the consumer catastrophe that requires citizens to blow into a breathalyzer-like device monitored by an off-site government employee “evidence of innovation at its finest.”
“This is Big Brother doublespeak that would make even George Orwell blush,” said Ostrich. “Consumers wouldn’t accept government choosing what jeans, flowers or cars they should purchase and they certainly shouldn’t accept these un-American programs that force them to buy only what the government tells them to – it’s time Pennsylvania celebrates its Liquor Independence Day”
Pennsylvania remains one of only two remaining states in the nation (the other is Utah) with full government control over wine and spirits sales.
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The Commonwealth Foundation (CommonwealthFoundation.org) is Pennsylvania’s independent think tank committed to the principles of the American Founding: limited constitutional government, personal and economic freedom, and individual responsibility.