Saturday, June 1, 2013

Give Rep. Petri an Earful

Rep. Petri -- well-known as fairly soft on privatization -- has a liquor privatization survey up on his website. It's lengthy, it's somewhat slanted, but I'd encourage you to take it, and give thoughtful -- not shouty-stupid -- answers. We need to give him something to think about, not an excuse to dismiss. Beer is very much included, by the way.

I find this interesting, because it indicates that Petri does believe that some kind of privatization bill will come back from the Senate -- likely at the very last moment Senator Chuck "Footdragger" McIlhinney can engineer -- and he wants to be ready. We need to help him.

When he asks you where you want to buy booze, tell him YES. Sell it in groceries, gas stations, convenience stores, Target. Why not? Wegmans has a great record on preventing underage sales, and no gas station chain will want the fines that come with such sales. When he asks you what you want to buy there, tell him YES: beer, wine, and spirits. Again, why not? 

When he asks you "Do you think that Pennsylvania should retain the wholesale operation in order to avoid raising taxes to fill the loss of approximately $80 million in revenue?", tell him NO! Tell him that his numbers are speculative and pessimistic, and don't take into account all the revenues from a private system; privatization is going to be, at worst, a wash. And if it isn't? We already have some of the highest liquor and wine taxes in the country; maybe it's time the rest of the Commonwealth's citizens paid a little more of their fair share.

And it is a little: $80 million is a lot of money, but it's a tiny shred of the state's annual budget; they could recoup most of it by cutting out some of the ridiculous overspending at the Legislature itself (starting with the size of the thing). The main point here is that if Pennsylvania retains the wholesale operation, we're still leaving selection in the hands of a committee in Harrisburg: not what we're in this for at all, and he needs to understand that.

Take the survey, and think about it as you do. What do YOU really want from privatization?
  • Lower prices
  • Better in-store selection
  • More stores 
  • Better service
  • An end to the police-enforced monopoly
  • Wine and beer sales in supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores
  • End the case law
  • End the state wholesale monopoly
Think about it...and then write your own senator and representative and tell them. And then tell them that this is a ballot issue for you, and you'll be watching how they vote. You might as well...because every State Store union member is.

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