Sunday, June 7, 2009

Great talk about selling the State Store System

Very good piece in the Patriot News about selling off the State Store System. The only person they could find in favor of keeping it was State Store System clerks' union (UFCW Local 1776) president Wendell W. Young IV, pathetically flapping his hands with the same stale arguments the union has used for years:

  1. We won't really make that much money by selling the system (yeah, or by selling licenses to the biggest non-private liquor and wine sales market in the country; sure, pal. Ever seen pictures of the Oklahoma Land Run?)

  2. We get $80 million in profits from the system every year (we could take the $1.7 billion estimated as the sale price of the system and put it in a bank at 4% and make $70 million a year forever doing nothing)

  3. Tax collection in other states isn't that great because private businesses defraud the government (they're corrupt? What, like that LCE officer that was shaking down bars in eastern PA? Great argument!)

  4. The State Store System clerks have only sold to minors twice in the past seven years (that's GREAT news: even underage PA drinkers are smart enough to shop somewhere else...)
There are no good reasons...or even excuses not to sell the State Store System.

"Yee-ha, boys, let's go get us a likker store!"


harold said...

I'm guessing that the fraud won't be handled swiftly by both the state attorney general and the state treasury deptment.

Rich said...

I don't exactly know how they can quantify that they've only sold to 2 minors in 7 years. How many "kids" have gotten away with it in those seven many slip through the cracks. One thing of concern is the $20M that goes to the state police for liquor enforcement...I guess that money could come out of taxes, but I do think that's an important point. I think the police should be compensated for their work in this.

Lew Bryson said...

I think they actually have caught two minors being sold to, which is a lot different from only having sold to two minors. It doesn't mean much; maybe they just don't enforce that well. I doubt that, actually: the State Stores are just not that friendly a place for underagers, hell, they're not that friendly to adults.
As for the $20 million...we can save that much by breaking up the PLCB and farming out their useful responsibilities -- enforcement, inspections, tax collection, audits, education -- to other state agencies that already do that work.

Anonymous said...

Another thing to point out is that State Police don't do most of the liquor enforcement, it's the local beat cops that pick up most drunk drivers, keep an eye on minors (under 21), and get people for alcohol-related offenses. If there were locally-owned businesses in towns and cities providing a bigger tax base for muni authorities, wouldn't that get more money to the officers that do the most enforcement?

The state store system must go.

sam k said...

Lew, the LCE officer link takes me to a story about two corrupt Luzerne County judges, interesting in its own right, but not necessarily regarding this topic.

Lew Bryson said...

That's odd...the linked page has been dropped from the site, but if you do a Google News search on "liquor control enforcement corruption Pennsylvania," the link and lead to the story comes up, but leads to the story about the judges. If you go to the Standard Speaker home page and search "liquor control", the story pops up...without a link. Bizarre.

sam k said...

Wow, talk about conspiracy! I Googled the parameters you noted, and the first link stated:

"Jun 2, 2009 ... The officer formerly worked in liquor control enforcement's District 9 ... had addressed to “PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) Licensee. ... asked to tell police of any “corruption or abuse of authority by officer ..."

When I clicked it, I was taken to a story about an attorney who wore a wire to get the two idiot Luzerne County judges busted.

Lew Bryson said...

Kinda freaked me, too, Sam.

The Cellar and the Pantry said...

These statements about underage sales are bizarre.

First, measuring how many people try to buy underage liquor by how many people get caught (i.e., arrested) for buying underage liquor ignores the fact that (1) most people who buy underage don't get caught, and (2) if they do get caught, they usually don't get arrested. ("What? You want ID? Oh, I seem to have left my driver's license in the car. Let me go get that. You wait here...")

Second, it assumes that because people can't drink underage at home, that they won't drink underage at all. Anyone who is underage in Pennsylvania and wants to drink can find a bar that will serve them, unless they are a young-looking twelve-year-old. And a bar with a bottle shop that will sell them malt liquor. Or a friend who will buy for them at the state store, for that matter.

If the PLCB could tell me that only two minors got drunk last year in Pennsylvania, they might have an argument. But that's obviously not the case. So what's the point of "two in seven years" again?

Anonymous said...

Cellar, you're thinking too negatively! Sure, there are some kids who slip through the PLCB's cracks and get drunk anyway, but you have to think positively about these things.

It's a victory that we have two successful cases of enforcement procedure. If the system isn't broken all of the time, then it must work some of the time! And that means the system works!

So I'd like to congratulate the PLCB on its non-0% record of preventing underage alcohol sales.