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State-store buncombe I

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Letter to the Editor
Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

The letter “PLCB yields real money” (Dec. 7 and by Wendell W. Young IV, United Food and Commercial Workers Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Council president, is yawningly similar to everything else he has been saying to defend the police-enforced state retail monopoly the past few years — and it's still buncombe.

The PLCB “generated more than $500 million in profits and taxes”? A private system would still collect the taxes, over 75 percent of that total and probably more; fewer people would buy booze out of state. The “profits” are variable and nowhere near what they could be, thanks to inflated overhead and costly failures like the wine kiosks.

The in-house TableLeaf is the fifth most popular brand of chardonnay? Not surprising: The stores tout it constantly and it's deliberately priced under private brands, a devious use of the agency's monopoly power. If the PLCB outsells private labels and puts them out of business, will we see state-owned wineries, too?

As we've seen from the arrogant parade of PLCB failures and ethical lapses — the kiosks, overstuffed storage trailers, courtesy-training contract and now the ethics investigation of the CEO and former chairman — it's an all-too-independent agency. It's past time to privatize.

Lew Bryson


The writer blogs at

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