Friday, November 6, 2009

"More proof: State should exit liquor business"

That's a quote from the Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial page. They're citing a study from the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Analysis (full text of the study is here, and it's worth a read), a libertarian-leaning PA think tank, that found...well, essentially found what I was saying here, and then backed it up with facts and citations. They found that Pennsylvania's "control" of liquor and wine sales had no social benefit for the state.

Here's what the summary of the study says (all emphasis (except as noted) added by me, cuz that's what I do):
...arguments might be made for state control as a means of achieving some desired social outcome. In Pennsylvania's case, advocates claim that the social goals of reducing alcohol consumption, underage drinking, and alcohol-related traffic deaths justify controlling wholesale and retail alcohol markets.
Evidence from 48 states over time shows no link between market controls and these social goals [their emphasis]. Divestiture of Pennsylvania's state liquor stores would represent a financial windfall to the state, while posing no threat to public safety, as it would not result in the social ills many opponents of privatization fear.

Now. If all that's true, and it certainly would seem to be -- they've compared it the best way possible, looking at other states with similar and different regulations -- why do we keep the State Store System? It's not about protecting you from yourself. It's about the money -- oh, sorry, I mean the revenue. (Because the State doesn't take your money, they enhance the revenue flow.) And we already knew that. So if we're going to make the same (or better) in taxes under privatization, and there's no horrible effects of drinking too much under privatization lurking, and privatization could make the state a huge windfall and create a lot of jobs...what the hell are we waiting for?

As the editorial concludes: "It is no longer 1933. It is time for the state to get out of the liquor control business."

4 comments:

AVB said...

It has been estimated that based on our population PA would have about 3 times as many liquor stores under deregulation as we do now (1800 vs. 624). So that would mean almost 3 times as many people working, an increase in business taxes ('cause the PLCB doesn't pay any now), an increase in income taxes collected, and not having to pay the bloated PLCB bureaucracy. Imagine getting wine direct to your door, being able to order damn near anything you want even if it isn't stocked. Not having items available only to licensees (bars) but to all residents.

Stand up and drink like men DAMNIT.

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Anonymous said...

If you look at the PLCB's latest self-attaboy, http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/webapp/agency/press/press_detail.asp?press_no=09-25&psearch=&offset=13

I want to point out a few things you probably already know:

Sales for 2008-2009FY= $1.8B

what did we get of that? "$265.9 million in liquor taxes and $103.6 million in sales taxes and transferred $125 million of store profits"

So if the PLCB sold out to private industry, we would STILL collect liquor taxes and sales taxes. We'll add the business taxes for liquor stores operating in the Commonwealth, DECREASE the cost of hiring, training and managing three quarters of the LCB's staff and invite com and offer new employment opportunities.

So what do we lose? $125,000,000 on $1,800,000,000 in sales... a 7% return? For a monopoly? On booze?

Lew Bryson said...

Exactly, Anony. It makes very little sense.