Charitable PLCB Seeks To Aid Delaware

Charitable PLCB Seeks To Aid Delaware — In an act of amazing charity, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Jan. 11, sought to help the small neighboring state of Delaware by raising the prices of some of its wines and liquors by a dollar or two.

For those Pennsylvanians who don’t have Naamans Road as a convenient location and yet can’t afford the new demands of their state, a group of British fellows who have spent time living in Saudi Arabia have created a website dedicated to revealing the special techniques they developed to enjoy life in that benighted place.

While we certainly don’t endorse anything illegal and merely post this link to inform and edify, the Brits swear their stuff is better than what Harrisburg sells and doesn’t give hangovers.


Charitable PLCB Seeks To Aid Delaware

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.?

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.? — This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

Last November, Pennsylvanians elected Tom Corbett to solve the state’s problems. But instead of leadership, they’ve received task forces and blue ribbon panels. In just three months, commissions have been formed to deal with Marcellus Shale natural gas (with a whopping 31 members), explore the core functions of government and figure out how to privatize liquor.

Sorry, but isn’t that why people elect politicians? Isn’t it their job to solve these problems?

Commissions and task forces are simply code for passing the buck and kicking the can down the road. We might as well just hang a sign that reads, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Blue Ribbon State.” And if GOP leaders don’t start following through on campaign promises, the only “Red” they’ll see is voter anger when the state turns Democratic Blue.


Since privatizing liquor is one of the only issues which enjoys a large consensus, and since it would provide billions to balance the ballooning budget deficit, it’s baffling why Corbett would punt away such political capital when he needs it most. Delaying the privatization initiative by instituting yet another study commission was a move that left many observers scratching their heads — and state store union employees punch-drunk with elation.

Even more perplexing is that Corbett has a solid ally in House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who had been spearheading privatization legislation for years. Turzai had a right to expect that, with strong GOP majorities in both houses, the Governor would come charging out of the gate on an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign. Instead, Corbett felt compelled to reach into the “Business As Usual” drawer and pull out another meaningless commission, which looks increasingly like a bad political calculation.


Sometimes you have to walk out your door to realize that the grass really is greener somewhere else. For Pennsylvanians, that “green” is all the money saved by consumers in other states because they aren’t gouged when purchasing alcohol.

For the uninitiated, following is a primer for how the Pennsylvania alcohol monopoly works:

Pennsylvania is the largest purchaser of booze in the world. The state government, through the Liquor Control Board (LC, controls the purchase, distribution and sale of all wine and liquor. You might think that with such immense purchasing clout, its citizens would have outstanding selection and competitive pricing. But as any Pennsylvanian knows, that’s clearly not the case.

Interestingly, the LCB is charged with two distinct, and inherently contradictory, roles. While it’s responsible for raising revenue through the sale of wine and liquor, it’s also charged with controlling the sale of booze throughout the state. By definition, if the LCB is succeeding at one, it must be failing at the other.

Every bottle of liquor bought in the state comes with an added bonus: an 18 percent “temporary” tax, in addition to the 6 percent sales tax. So a $10 bottle jumps to $11.80 before the sales tax is calculated, totaling a whopping $12.50. In all fairness, the 18 percent tax was well intentioned—it was passed by the legislature to rebuild Johnstown after a devastating flood that destroyed the town.

In 1936. So much for “temporary” taxes.

Anyone who’s traveled outside Pennsylvania knows how refreshing it is to enter a grocery store and, remembering that you need a bottle of wine for dinner, walk two aisles over to the plethora of vino at your fingertips. Since others accomplish this with little difficulty, it’s incomprehensible that the nation’s sixth largest state can’t—or, more accurately, won’t—do the same.

It is infinitely more efficient when a private company, responsive to the needs of the free market (instead of bureaucrats), stocks its shelves with items that consumers want, at a fair market price. It is the core principle on which America was founded.

But Pennsylvania remains stuck in the Dark Ages, and what makes the sin mortal is that it chooses to remain there. It hasn’t dawned on the politicos in Harrisburg that they are losing untold revenue because of their Draconian system, with millions of residents crossing state lines to fill their liquor cabinets. (No offense to Governor Christie, but anytime New Jersey offers a better alternative, you know you have major problems).

And despite the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, if you’re caught bringing alcohol into Pennsylvania, it’s a criminal offense. In fact, such “criminals” used to have their cars confiscated for doing so.

To be fair, today’s LCB has made substantial progress in its operations and “customer service.” Not too long ago, all of its locations were “counter” stores, meaning that customers had to know exactly what they wanted before placing their order, since browsing was not permitted. The clerk would then disappear into the bowels of the store, only to return five or 10 minutes later, more often than not stating that they were “out of stock” and asking for a second choice. Now imagine this scene playing out at Christmas time, with 25 people in line.

But that’s not all.

Nothing in the store was chilled. No ancillary items, such as tonic water, were sold. No employees were permitted to offer advice. And no LCB stores accepted credit cards.

And all this because former Governor Gifford Pinchot, who as a young man became violently sick while imbibing in Germany, became bound and determined to make alcohol as difficult as possible to obtain.

But the LCB’s improvements amount to being valedictorian of summer school. The whole system has to be scrapped.

The ultimate irony is that the Keystone State, birthplace of American democracy and cradle of liberty, continues down the path of state control and government regulation, to the detriment of its twelve million citizens.

And what are liquor privatization’s chances? Dead for the spring session, possible in the fall and virtually nonexistent for 2012. With the makeup of the legislature sure to change next year, the time to take a “shot” is undoubtedly now.

The people have awakened from their stupor, demanding change. Instead, all they get is a (Pabst) “Blue Ribbon” commission.

Time for another drink.

Senate Schedules Hearing On Privatizing State Stores

Tears may not be being shed yet but furrows of concern should be appearing on the brows of those at Total Wine and the other Naamans Road liquor stores in Delaware<

The  Law and Justice Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate has scheduled a Valentine’s Day hearing on privatizing the state’s liquor sales.

The committee is chaired by Sen. John Pippy (R-37).

The hearing will be 3-5 p.m., in 8E-B of the Capitol’s East Wing. It will explore general topics including the practice of other states. No specific bill be discussed.

Expected to testify are representatives of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Reason Foundation, the Commonwealth Foundation, and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

In other  legislative news, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) has introduced SB 108 which will further restrict the employment of executive-level state workers by firms in which they had dealings.

Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-13) introduced SB 110 which would let taxpayers easily see who is flying on state-owned planes.

The Senate Education Committee endorsed a lifetime ban on persons convicted of serious violent offenses, which would include sex crimes against children from employment in schools, and a 10-year ban on all convicted of felony offenses of working in schools.

Dem Party Guy Cops Plea Gets Break

Dem Party Guy Cops Plea Gets Break — State Rep. Paul Costa is a party leader whether it be in the Democrat caucus in Harrisburg or in the parking lot before a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Costa, who has represented the 34th District since 1999 and who had chaired the House Subcommittee on Licensing as a member of the House Committee of Liquor Control during the just-ended Democrat majority, pleaded guilty, Nov. 24, to disorderly conduct stemming from his  Oct. 3 arrest for an incident in the parking lot of Clark Bar & Grill before the Steelers-Ravens game.

Costa was caught passing around a doobie.

In return for the guilty plea, misdemeanor drug charges were dismissed, a nice break since disorderly conduct is a no-record summary offense, whereas a record of a misdemeanor would create difficulties if he should want to do something such as, say, get a liquor license .

Costa paid a $50 fine plus $137 in court costs.

In fairness, minor marijuana arrests are more often than not handled this way in the state.

Costa is 50 years old.


Dem Party Guy Cops Plea Gets Break