Friday, July 11, 2014

Still more fun with PLCB numbers

Today we are going to look at some disparities in the PLCB mark-up.  Part of the so called "modernization" is to have variable pricing, where the PLCB would raise the price (change the mark-up) of Captain Morgan a quarter so they could lower the price of Johnnie Walker Blue, for example.

But first a little history. Remember the PLCB was tasked to come up with a variable pricing plan in 1985 (within the Liquor Code). They did, but it was never implemented according to the Legislative Finance and Budget Committee Performance Audit of  May1992. However, it seems that there is already a variable mark-up in use. Looking at the June PLCB meeting minutes on page 27 you'll see Chateau D'yquem Sauternes for a unit cost of $681.05 and a retail cost of $909.99. Now to get from unit cost to retail you have to add on the 30% PLCB mark-up and the 18% JFT. There are some minor things like roundup and bottle fees that might add a few dollars too.

So we have:  $681.05 X 1.30 = $885.36 which is the markup.
Now impose the Johnstown Flood Tax:
$885.36 X 1.18 = $1044.73

But $1044.73 is not $909.99! So who gets shorted? The State or the PLCB? If the PLCB gets shorted, then the markup is only 13%. If the state is being shorted, then they are only getting 2.5% of their Johnstown Flood Tax, and not 18%.

I'd like to hear that explanation. Is the PLCB just arbitrarily changing mark-up so their prices are somewhat within range of normal and not so high as to be laughable? If they are, then why does that have to be "modernized," since they are already doing it? I find it interesting and this is not the only one - just the most glaring.

Another from the same meeting on page 29: Chateau de Beaucastel has a unit cost of $383.71 and a retail price of $519.99; again the math doesn't match.

$383.71 X 1.30 = $498.82
$498.82 X 1.18 = $588.61
But $588.61 is not $519.99

There are more, and you can do the math yourselves.
Balvenie 17 Year Old Doublewood page 19
Meteor Vineyard "Perseid" page 30
Dos Armadillos Tequila Extra Anejo page 32

Clean-up on Aisle Math!
I can find examples in other board meeting minutes, in fact, every one I've looked at (although I haven't looked at all of them nor every item). So what is going on here? A Union representative said it was probably a reporting error, which, if true, would explain it all away, but then bring up the question of why are there so many and why is it only on high priced items? Why don't regular items have as many reporting errors? I've gone through a pretty good number of them and you are welcome to try too...but so far it is only higher end items.

Even more proof is the infamous Screaming Eagle Wine debacle when the PLCB not only didn't pay the Flood Tax, make any mark-up at all and lost over $7,000 on the original unit cost of 10 bottles. I didn't see any legislative action approving that. That seems pretty variable to me going from 30% to -25% and not collecting or paying any taxes.

Does this mean the PLCB is somehow giving a break to people who can afford $900 bottles of wine while shafting the average citizen? Sure looks that way but if any representative of the PLCB wants to offer an explanation, I'll post it. I know that the Office of the Chief Council of the PLCB reads this since she has searched me out, so c'mon Faith you or your minions pass this along to somebody who can answer it.


Anonymous said...

You should ask faith if she was ever part of any discussions with PJ or Conti on this issue. They knew the impact and she knew the law and definitions.

412Libertarian said...

My take with further color on this:

Albert Brooks said...

The proof I have is fairly recent so PJ and Water Heater Joe don't really have much to do with it. If Board Minutes from years past were available then perhaps a point could be raised about their duplicity.

412Libertarian said...

Albert if I was you I would save all board minutes as a pdf file, save them offline and maybe also print a copy to be sure. Those would be valuable in the future for exposing their lies IMO.