Fact Check: Liquor Privatization Polling & “Profits”

A strong majority of Pennsylvanians want legislators to end the state’s Prohibition-era liquor system, just as Governor Corbett has proposed. But as today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (subscription required) shows many lawmakers want to keep the status quo.

This is the first in a series of blog posts addressing the common myths opponents use against getting government out of the businesses of selling alcohol.

Myth #1: It’s pretty clear there’s no real support for privatization.

Consumers choose convenience! More than 60 percent of Pennsylvania residents support getting government out of the booze business. This is broad-based, bi­partisan support that finds even the majority of union house­holds want Liquor Liberation! The more often one uses the current state store system, the more they support privatization. Poll results, conducted by nationally-renown pollster, FM3, show that 77 percent of weekly PLCB customers want government out of the booze business.

Myth #2: At least the PLCB makes money for the state. It’s reliable revenue for critical state and local needs.

The PLCB wants you to believe that without them, revenue dries up. Truth is: more than 80 percent of the PLCB’s $500 million in “profits” is generated from taxes and the rest is taken out of the pockets of Pennsylvania consumers and taxpayers through “markup” charges. Privately-owned liquor stores would produce the same revenue or more, as private companies pay additional taxes and licensing fees to the state.

Stay tuned for more liquor store privatizaion facts and myths, and check out our new issue-specific website, BoozeFacts.com,  Whether you have five minutes or five hours, there are easy ways you can take action to get government out of the booze business in Pennsylvania; learn more here.