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Commonwealth Foundation Toasts Turzai Liquor Freedom Bill
Sees opportunity to return freedom to consumers, taxpayers
HARRISBURG, PA (07.13.11)—Commonwealth Foundation toasted House Majority Leader Mike Turzai today for unveiling House Bill 11, a law that would privatize the wholesale and retail sales operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
"Returning to people the freedom to choose a legal commodity without government monopolies, manipulation and mediocrity is cause for a toast," said Matthew J. Brouillette, CF president and CEO. "We give cheers to this measure because it restores the American way through personal freedom and better selection at lower prices."
CF has been the leading proponent of privatizing Pennsylvania’s 644 state-owned liquor stores and its wholesale operation, often blasting the antiquated, anti-free-market and absurd practices of the PLCB, including the failed wine kiosk program and spending millions in taxpayer money in advertising to compete with private enterprise and stop consumers from traveling out of state just to find better selection and better prices.
"When it comes to economic and personal freedom, the government in the booze business has been a lose business," said Brouillette. "Citizens wouldn’t tolerate the government choosing what types of jeans or groceries they purchase and they certainly shouldn’t stand for government telling them what kind of liquor to buy."
CF believes legislators should look eliminate a cap on the number of liquor stores in Pennsylvania. Even if Pennsylvania were to go to the per capita national average, the state would have more than 2,800 licenses.
"A true free market would allow the consumers of Pennsylvania to decide how many liquor stores are needed," said Brouillette. "We look forward to celebrating Liquor Independence Day in the Keystone State soon and this bill would move freedom a giant step forward."
Pennsylvania remains one of only two states in the nation (the other is Utah) with full government control over wine and spirits sales. The PLCB literally controls both the promotion and sales of wine and spirits, and the regulations and enforcement of Pennsylvania liquor laws.
"The notion that an agency can start fires by promoting alcohol and then be charged with putting them out through enforcement is ridiculous," said Brouillette. "It’s time to end this absurdity and return freedom back to its rightful owners – the consumers and taxpayers of Pennsylvania."
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The Commonwealth Foundation (CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.