Bill would require disclaimer on Liquor Control Board ads
A central Pennsylvania lawmaker wants consumers to know their tax dollars pay for the wine and spirits ads they see for products sold in state liquor stores.
State Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Carlisle, circulated a memorandum to his House colleagues on Monday asking them to sign on as cosponsors to his proposal to require LCB advertising to prominently state: “THIS AD PAID FOR BY YOU, THE TAXPAYERS OF PA.”
Bloom said he was inspired to draft the legislation after learning from a Tribune-Review story that the LCB spent $5.8 million last year on advertising.
“I think people get the idea that we have the state-controlled liquor monopoly,” Bloom said in an interview. “But I think it's often overlooked that we're using taxpayer dollars ... to promote the consumption of alcohol, and to me, this is one avenue we can use to help expose to public scrutiny the decisions of how to steward our taxpayer resources in an efficient, appropriate manner.”
LCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman said the agency tries to spend its advertising dollars wisely.
“As a business, we know that advertising products is an effective way to alert people to new items and special deals and promotions ... and can result in an increase in sales, which in turn increases revenue to the General Fund,” Kriedeman said. “We are always looking to streamline our advertising to be more efficient.”
A story published in the Tribune-Review in October detailed ad spending that the LCB listed in its first annual report in years, which explained how departments operate and provided sales figures, marketing efforts, regulatory issues, employee demographics and financial statements.
The report showed the LCB bought 20,594 commercials on 45 radio stations as well as 6,181 commercials on 55 TV stations and ran print ads in 12 newspapers statewide. Ads also appeared on billboard and social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
“You're literally seeing taxpayer dollars being used to buy billboards and TV commercials promoting drinking liquor while at the same time, the same state agency is advertising to discourage people from consuming liquor,” Bloom said.
The LCB awarded more than $1 million in alcohol-education grants last year to colleges and universities, schools, communities groups and law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce underage and dangerous drinking.
Money spent on advertising and alcohol education is funded by sales revenue from the state's 600 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, Kriedeman said.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or email@example.com.
Add Kari Andren to your Google+ circles.
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.