The Turzai plan
House Republican Whip Mike Turzai's comprehensive plan to get Pennsylvania out of the wine and spirits business -- and significantly reduce state budget woes -- deserves action, not just Harrisburg lip service.
In questioning why Pennsylvania still monopolizes wholesale and retail liquor sales, Rep. Turzai, of Bradford Woods, cites a Duquesne University study's finding that state control doesn't reduce alcohol's societal harm. His privatization plan makes philosophical, practical and financial sense.
Taking over Liquor Control Board retail and wholesale operations would be high bidders who'd pay an estimated $2 billion -- enough to greatly narrow the budget gap -- at auction for 100 wholesale and 750 retail licenses. Any bidder could own no more than 10 percent of those licenses, assuring keen competition.
The LCB would enforce, license, inspect and educate. Displaced LCB employees would be assisted. Wine and spirits would be taxed by the gallon, with only retail sales subject to sales tax. But annual revenue wouldn't drop. With more private operators paying taxes, it likely would rise.
The Turzai plan is an opportunity -- one Harrisburg must not miss -- to do the right thing for taxpayers, consumers and businesses.
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 â 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.