Privatizing the state's liquor monopoly is not only an idea whose time has come, it is a priority for both Majority Leader Mike Turzai and Governor Corbett. How this is done is of crucial importance. If process is like that of the sale of casino licenses, it will be a loss for The Forgotten Taxpayer. The licenses need to be auctioned off to highest, responsible bidder and not sold to a few "connected to the elected", getting rich on bad government.
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State Control to Free Market
Turzai's Job is Not Easy
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The time has come for the government to remove itself from the wholesale purchasing of liquor and the business of operating a retail chain of liquor stores. Although this initiative will be resisted by the United Food and Commercial Workers, it is likely to pass this time. Privatization was attempted during the Ridge Administration. For some additional facts, see policy paper by Commonwealth Foundation.
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Bob Guzzardi, independent of any candidate, campaign or organization. This message has not been approved by anyone but me.
PA Liquor Store Privatization: New York Times Reports
The New York Times has a good summary of the political terrain in A Push to Privatize Pennsylvania Liquor Stores (December 31, 2010).
The unionized government monopoly control of liquor sales in Pennsylvania is not, in my opinion, a core function of government. The system is perpetuated by an unholy alliance of government unions driving up cost of service and ideological, knee jerk prohibitionists supporting a system that does not accomplish any of their stated objectives.
For an in depth policy analysis, see Private Liquor Stores: A Reason for Cheers
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
PA Liquor Stores: From State Control to the Free Market with Facts and Figures
The Commonwealth Foundation addresses two key issues with regard to privatizing government control of liquor distribution in Pennsylvania with Free Market system. It is the Unions which monopolize and control liquor store labor and profit from dues paid by employees that is the main motivation for retention of the current system. The two issues addressed are underage drinking or increase in alcoholism and State's loss of revenues.
"Under House Majority Leader Turzai's proposal, the state would auction off inventories of state stores, as well as 750 retail stores licenses and 100 wholesale distribution licenses to private companies-estimated to bring in almost $2 billion. With another $500 million expected annually by requiring biennial license renewal fees, state alcohol taxes and in new taxes not paid by government entities, such as corporate income taxes and property taxes-and an end to border bleed-this proposal would likely generate more state revenue than is produced by the current system."
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Facts and Figures
From the Commonwealth Foundation: While only three states, including Pennsylvania, still have a government monopoly on the sale of wine and liquor at the retail and wholesale level, the notion still faces strong opposition. However, studies and real-world experience with liquor reforms in other states demonstrate the main criticisms are unfounded.
1) The main concern of critics is that privatization will increase underage drinking, binge drinking and DUI fatalities. This is simply not the case. A study by John Pulito and Dr. Antony Davies of Duquesne University found absolutely no link between these social behaviors and the level of state control. Similarly, states moving from government-run liquor stores to licensing of private retailers saw little change in these areas
2) A second myth used by defenders of the current system is the state will lose revenue. Wine and liquor sales generate revenue through two sources-liquor taxes (approximately $376 million annually) and state store's "profits" (approximately $90 million annually).
For more see Private Liquor Stores: A Reason for Cheers
Liquor Store Union Distorts Facts to Skew Poll
January 29 at 5:31pm.
PA Liquor Stores: From State Control to the Free Market - Mike Turzai's Job Not as Easy as the Pundit's
Another pundit's perspective on privatizing liquor stores which are operated on the communistic (used in original and literal sense) model where the State owns and controls the means of production, in this case, the means of distributing what is produced. For some more Facts and Figures, see Penna. Liquor Control Board here. (It appears that gross revenues, not counting taxes, is $1.5 billion. There seemed to be inconsistencies in how different reports income and expense.)
The pundit claims The Turzai Plan doesn't go far enough. The know it all pundit may be right but he doesn't have to make it happen in the real world of practical politics as Majority Leader Turzai does.
Rep. Turzai had proposed a gigantic, tectonic shift in how liquor and wine are sold in Pennsylvania and implementing the proposal will take skill and determination and won't be easy. The Unions, which the present system of unionized government employees finances with 100s of 1000s in dues, will be out in force to undermine the Majority Leader's initiative.
The Metropolis writer makes some good points in the manner of smart- alecky pundits who don't actually have to Bell the Cat who can propose remedies but doesn't have to get them done in the real world. Complaining and criticizing are not contributing to the solution. Lobbying your own State Representatives, particularly, the Union financed Philadelphia Democrats and Republicans, would be a real contribution.
Philadelphia Union Financed Republican John Taylor
Another pundit, Aaron Proctor of www.examiner.com comments on Philadelphia Union Financed Republican John Taylor's fuzzy statement. In fact, as the Examiner writer points out, John Taylor will be an obstacle to reform the status quo statist system. "Privatization of the state's liquor system is expected to be debated in the new legislative session.." translates to the fact that [Republican Representative John Taylor ]e does not want to privatize liquor stores in order to serve his friends in the public sector Unions that help him get re-elected. This is an abomination and a clear trampling on not only civil liberties but the rights of businesses to compete in a fair and free market.