Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Almighty Liquor Code gets bent for the DNC

It's real and it's happening: the Democratic National Convention got the liquor code exemptions it wanted (and it's in place for any future "national event," which apparently must be a political convention). The details were reported by Angela Couloumbis in this morning's Inquirer

What's the upshot? Well, the DNC will pay $5,000 -- once -- to the PLCB, and then proceed to grant the exemptions to whatever premises it wants, licensed or unlicensed. (I'd link to the application, but hey, they just shut it down. Sorry. The DNC is saying they will put out a list of exempted premises by week's end.)

The exemptions include staying open later than 2 AM, and that's the one everyone's fixated on. It's been reported that the licensed areas (existing licensees, bars, plazas, whatever the DNC wants) can stay open till 4, but the law doesn't actually stipulate that; it's up to the Board, who apparently have delegated all that to the DNC, who have said '4 AM, please.' Pretty good spend of $5,000, really, to get licensing authority in Philly for four days.

And then there's this. (Quoting from the Inky story linked above, and as usual, emphasis is added.)
The reprieve also allows businesses to circumvent the costly requirement that all wine and liquor be purchased from the state-run wine and spirits stores, which automatically mark up products they sell and add various taxes.
Event organizers and others said much of the liquor used during conventions and other big events is donated. And during this year's Democratic convention, other states' delegations might want to host a reception featuring their hometown alcohol.
That's the one that hurts. It's a special exemption from having to get booze from the PLCB. They can bring it in without paying taxes, without paying the markup, without paying the bottle or handling fees, and of course, without having to deal with the ham-handed clowns at the PLCB. Because, you know: they want the stuff to actually be there when they need it. 

Why does it hurt? It's not the revenue, though God knows, we could use it, and the DNC's got plenty. It's the unvarnished unfairness of it. We have to put up with this antiquated, creaky, anti-customer monopoly 24/7/365...but when the politicians come to town, well, loosen up the laws for them, because they deserve a little normalcy, and we don't want them to go home and tell their friends how backwards and boneheaded and provincial Pennsylvania is compared to the modern liquor laws in, say, Indiana.

It also hurts because while the PLCB is crying that it's going to take MONTHS to deal with adding the permission for grocery stores with beer licenses to also sell up to four bottles of wine per transaction -- let me take a crack at it, it ain't THAT hard -- this shit got done in a matter of days. DAYS. And bringing in booze that's not coming through the PLCB certainly seems like a bigger deal. Unless it's for your buddies. 

This is the Legislature admitting that our liquor system sucks. And this is the Legislature admitting that they don't have the guts to put an end to it. Instead, they're nibbling around the edges, and hoping like hell that we'll take our miserable 4-bottles-of-wine-in-selected-stores and go away

Don't be a dumb animal. Don't put up with what we have. We ARE all equal, and we ALL deserve to be free of the State Store System. PRIVATIZE.

1 comment:

Albert Brooks said...

You know that when every Democrat votes like sheep for something having to do with liquor it will be bad for the citizens. Case in point, they all voted for this.