The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced it would be arbitrarily raising prices on 422 wine and liquor products. This increase is a result of the “liquor modernization” efforts—which have proven to be a financial flop—to let the state government monopoly, “act more like a business.”
Just as we predicted, this “flexible pricing,” on top of the normal 30 percent markup, 18 percent liquor tax, 6 percent sales tax, and existing “handling fee,” simply meant higher prices on Pennsylvania households to try to generate more money for the state.
As the PennLive story notes, there is really no limit to how much government bureaucrats can jack up prices on consumers (emphasis added).
Some 393 of the items in line for a price hike will have their prices increased by a dollar. The price increase for the remaining 29 will range anywhere from $2 to $100, according to PLCB spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell.
Unfortunately, this is far from the only government entity to raise costs on families.
Higher Turnpike Tolls
In July, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioned announced a 6 percent increase in tolls, effective in January. This is the 10th straight year with an increase. Cash-paying passenger car drivers from Ohio to New Jersey would pay $54.96 next year.
Act 44 of 2007 allowed the Turnpike to borrow money to make payments for other projects—now all these payments are directed to mass transit systems. As CF predicted, this plan has led to higher and higher tolls, with no end in sight to these annual increases.
Higher Insurance Premiums
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner announced health insurers were (on average) requesting a 9 percent increase on insurance premiums. This is on top of last year’s 32 percent approved increase—higher than insurance companies even requested—and a 120 percent increase since 2013.
Rather than reducing costs, the so-called “Affordable Care Act” has only made insurance coverage more expensive, with no improvements to the quality or access to health care. (Readers might remember, we predicted this too).
Oh yeah, and if that wasn't enough, Gov. Wolf and some legislators are demanding higher taxes on working families. The tax plan passed by the state Senate last week would raise taxes by $570 million—about $180 per family of four. These taxes on home heating, cell phones, and electricity would hit almost every family in Pennsylvania.
This is on top of last year’s $650 million tax hike. (I know what you’re thinking: We couldn’t possibly have predicted last year’s tax increase would have led to slow economic growth and that there would be pressure to do another tax increase this year. Or did we?)
This isn't unexpected or suprising when government spending continues to grow faster than our state economy.
Real governing requires controlling spending.