Pop quiz: Who has to pay for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s $66 million (and growing) inventory software failure, a million-plus in the wine kiosk catastrophe or the millions spent in advertising on both promoting and preventing alcohol abuse at the same time?
a) The decision makers should pay with their jobs because they are responsible for such folly
b) Wine and liquor vendors – after all, they are part of the 1 % and can take it
c) Consumers who purchase lawfully in Pennsylvania
d) Pennsylvania taxpayers
e) Both c & d
If you chose “e,” both consumers and taxpayers, you’d be correct. But wait, that’s right, you really don’t get to choose in Pennsylvania, your government does that for you. And so today, predictably, consumers and taxpayers are left picking up another tab for government’s mistakes as the PLCB voted unanimously to raise prices on 313 state-sold products.
In fairness, prices do indeed need to be raised from time to time. But unlike prices almost anywhere else in America, that argument is actually being made to a government-appointed board, rather than left to the market. A private company raising prices would face potential competition from other, lower-priced retailers.
As a government-run monopoly, the PLCB is making pricing decisions for the entire state. Because of the PLCB’s monopoly status and its required 30% markup and 18% flood tax, this latest move is just a de facto tax hike on Pennsylvania consumers on top of the price increases.
And thus, millions of dollars poured down the drain in PLCB waste and abuse isn’t paid for in a vacuum, it is just passed along to consumers and taxpayers through higher prices and taxes. We can’t wait to see how the new prices line up with those of neighboring states, thus adding to hemorrhaging already caused by significant border bleed.
But until then stay thirsty, my comrades.