In defense of state stores
In defense of state stores
I thank you for the article on liquor privatization that appeared in the March 7 edition of the Observer-Reporter. I would like to make a few points that I think all Pennsylvanians should consider.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board contributes $500 million in taxes and profits to the general fund that benefits all Pennsylvania residents. While Gov. Tom Corbett’s statement that he will sell the licenses for $1 billion (a generous estimate) sounds great, that is a one-time shot. What happens when that money is gone? Can it be that we will then have to pay taxes on our food and clothing, as they do in West Virginia, to make up for the millions the liquor control board will no longer be contributing?
Then, let’s deal with the selection of products in the stores. I feel that you cannot beat it and so do my West Virginia customers who come in to the wine and spirits shop on Jefferson Avenue in Washington because they cannot find the item in West Virginia. Have you gone into a Rite Aid or Kroger store in West Virginia and seen their selection? You will find big national brands, but otherwise you are out of luck. Those big box stores cannot afford the shelf space for something that only sells two or three cases per year, but I can have that odd bottle that your mother-in-law likes if it is a regular stock item.
In other states, the small mom and pop stores get undercut by the big box stores until the small places cannot survive and once the big stores succeed in knocking out the competition, the prices go up dramatically. Washington, the latest state to privatize its alcohol sales, saw prices rise from 10 percent to 30 percent. Thousands of workers will also lose family-sustaining jobs under Corbett’s privatization plan.
So if the idea of a possible rise in prices, a smaller selection, diminished service and possibly paying taxes on food and clothing sounds like a good trade-off for the convenience of buying your wine and spirits in grocery stores, by all means contact your state representative and tell him you are for privatization. But maybe if you think the price may be too high, especially if you are not a purchaser of wine and spirits, contact your state representative and tell them you do not support privatization.
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