Mimosa Monopoly

Pennsylvania is waging a secret war on millennials. Okay, maybe not on millennials, but definitely on brunch, and that’s pretty much the same thing. The deleterious effect of Pennsylvania’s sky-high taxes, and outdated liquor regulations make millennials’ favorite Sunday Funday activity a hassle. No wonder this generation of working Pennsylvanians is exiting the state.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board restricts the total number of liquor licenses, making them needlessly expensive for the chosen few restaurants that can attain them.

Restaurants without licenses have tried to adapt by instituting BYOB policies. In Philly alone there were over 300 such establishments as of 2017. Now call me a boomer, but I thought the point of restaurants was that they provide the menu items. 

As a result, ‘Brunch Squads’ in search of bottomless mimosas have to go out of their way to a licensed retailer to purchase the beverages in advance. If they plan to go to a retailer without a Sunday sales license, then they better go on Saturday. Additionally, if they plan on buying wine from a restaurant then they better uninvite some friends—as there is a 4-bottle limit

Additionally, patrons might want to consider walking to brunch instead of taking an Uber and use those savings to pay for the PLCB markups, which on average are 65% higher than the direct from the maker price.

Taking away boozy brunch is like taking away millennials bread and butter—metaphorically that is, we all know the real bread and butter is avocado toast. Of course, brunch hassles are just one example of government overreach that contribute to ‘brain drain.’ 

The state also overtaxes its residents with the 15th highest state and local tax burden. At the local level, Philadelphia has the 5th highest tax collection per capita of all the cities in the U.S, despite having an average income below the national average. 

With conditions like this, you’d think millennials would take up their second favorite pastime—protesting. And they are, but instead of marching in the streets, they are marching out of Pennsylvania. Since 2012, the state has lost a net of over 32,000 18 to 34-year-olds. 

With a need for working millennials’ tax dollars to support the high tax burden, mimosas with brunch should not be too much to ask for. If the commonwealth wants to attract residents to the state, then it needs to evaluate the burdens it puts on them. Enacting commonsense spending limits—like the TPA—addresses overspending and establishes the fiscal restraint needed for tax reform in addition to liquor privatization. 

This is the second is a series about the needlessly high cost of living in Pennsylvania. Click here to learn how high taxes and regulations impact the dating life of Pennsylvanians.