Is liquor privatization in Washington State a “failed experiment”? That’s the bold assertion from opponents of unshackling Pennsylvania from the chains of a government liquor monopoly. It’s also wrong.
Washington State’s Office of Financial Management released a report back in January on the impact of liquor privatization. Their findings decimate the claims that privatization is a failed experiment. On the contrary, privatization led to a number of positive developments:
- Liquor sales increased by 13 percent.
Revenue collections increased by 18 percent. The number of liquor stores increased by 327 percent. Liquor store employment increased by 91 percent. (The report states that some of this growth may have occurred absent privatization.) Per-liter prices increased by 8 percent on average. This increase can be attributed to additional fees included as part of the privatization conversion and the state’s $35.22 per gallon excise tax— the highest spirits excise tax rate in the country.
- The costs of running the liquor system fell by 77 percent.
If Pennsylvania turns over the sale of liquor to the private sector without increasing taxes and fees (and we’re one step closer!), expect more jobs, better convenience, and competitive pricing.
For more on liquor privatization, check out this one-stop shop.