Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Corbett Officially Announces Support for Privatization of State Store System!

Big news today on the PLCB front: the front-runner in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial* race, Tom Corbett, announced yesterday that he supports "privatization of the state-run liquor store system." Here's the statement, from his campaign website:
“It is no secret that Pennsylvania and the next governor of this commonwealth will be faced with massive economic challenges left behind by the current administration.  As governor, I will present a plan for the privatization of the state liquor store system that helps to address the state’s need for additional funds, insures ongoing revenues and minimizes the impact on current workers,” said Corbett.  “Given the current economic climate in Pennsylvania, state government can no longer be in the liquor store business. We need to move our state out of the 19thcentury and refocus state government on its core functions and services for our residents."   
Of course, presenting a plan and getting the Legislature to pass it are two different matters, but having push from the governor will help. We'll certainly do our best to fuel the debate. 

What about the Democratic candidate, "Danny Boy" Onorato? He's been against privatization in the past, and when asked about Corbett's new statement, responded through a spokesman (in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: that he 
"would "consider any proposal" but currently does not support the privatization of liquor stores. "The current system generates hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to help balance the budget..." said Brian Herman. Mr. Onorato plans to make the state system more "consumer-friendly," but is looking elsewhere for savings, he said."
Actually, the current system generates under $200 million; the taxes on booze generate "hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue," and that would continue. It would almost certainly increase as we eliminated "cross-border bleed," the PLCB euphemism for "people going to NJ/MD/DE to buy booze instead of at the annoying State Store System."And I'd love to know how he "plans to make the state system more 'consumer-friendly,'" given the current level of arrogance at the agency; they told Fast Eddie to piss off, do you really think they're going to listen to some jumped-up county commissioner?

As I've said before: I wouldn't suggest that anyone vote based on this single issue. But if you're wavering on who to vote for -- and in this particular race, it's like deciding to vote for Mr. Avuncular or Rendell Lite -- here's one candidate who's taken a solid stand on an issue you probably care about.

*And isn't that a great word? Goobernatorial?