Privatizing liquor: A sobering example
Published: Friday, July 5, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Harrisburg's invertebrate pols raised a toast to union fidelity and the status quo by their abject failure to privatize the state's liquor stores. They should have considered the experiences of Washington state on the one-year anniversary of its liquor overhaul.
Transferred to private hands, demon rum didn't destroy the Evergreen State, as The Seattle Times reports. Far to the contrary, liquor sales increased along with revenues. Prices varied and in some cases did increase. But there also was a net job gain as 329 state stores became more than 1,400 retail outlets. And drunken driving fatalities declined, although authorities reported an uptick in shoplifting.
Closer analysis by the Commonwealth Foundation reveals that those higher customer prices stem from excessive taxes and new fees. At $35.22 per gallon, Washington imposes the highest liquor tax in the country, the Tax Foundation reports.
But even with the higher taxes, prices for 50 popular products (in the 1.75-liter category) were still more than $5 cheaper than state store prices, according to the president of the Total Wine & More chain.
And who's to say that Pennsylvania can't do better than Washington?
Sadly instead, lawmakers in a stupor of inaction kowtowed to unionized state store workers and bellowing beer distributors, turning a blind eye to what obviously works well in other states.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nelson Mandela: The real legacy
- Detroit’s bankruptcy: An object lesson
- ‘China City’
- PSERS time bomb: Tick, tick, tick, tick ...
- More ObamaCare fallout: Medicare disadvantage
- Sunday pops
- The Box
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday Takes
- The IRS scandal: FBI games
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- The Thursday wrap