More LCB propaganda: Kill the monopoly
Self-serving status-quo proponents crowing over the Liquor Control Board again setting revenue and profit records in fiscal year 2012-13 portray the agency's glass as full to the brim. But so long as they keep privatization's benefits bottled up, it's half-empty at best.
Driven by higher wine and spirits sales at both the wholesale and retail levels, revenue rose 4.5 percent over 2011-12, to nearly $2.2 billion; profit rose 24 percent, to $128.4 million. About $80 million of that, plus liquor- and sales-tax revenue, resulted in $512 million for the state's General Fund.
But that's “only telling half the story,” the Commonwealth Foundation says. It notes the LCB ended 2011-12 “with negative $9.8 million in net assets” — and more than 80 percent of 2011-12 “profits” came from taxes.
Paying additional taxes and licensing fees, private stores “would produce the same revenue or more,” the foundation reminds. They'd also end annual losses of more than $180 million in sales and more than $40 million in tax revenue to “border bleed” — residents buying alcohol out of state, where no government monopoly controls price and selection.
And all the crowing over “profits” spotlights the LCB's inherent conflict as chief alcohol promoter and enforcer — which privatization would end.
Those citing the LCB's latest numbers to justify its archaic monopoly put narrow special interests — think unionized state-store workers — ahead of all Pennsylvanians' interests, which privatization would best serve.
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.