End monopoly, period
Brad Bumsted's news story “State leaders negotiating on possible new liquor privatization plan” is great news for Pennsylvanians. Privatization opponents like the United Food and Commercial Workers — a government union funded by forced dues — will claim the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board only needs “modernization.” But the truth is that the system is broken beyond what difference a few tweaks will make.
The state liquor store system is a relic of the Prohibition era and has outlived its usefulness. It has proven inefficient, ineffective and irresponsible. From producing its own wine to compete with private wineries to blowing $66 million on a failed “state of the art” inventory system or implementing a disastrous wine kiosk program, the PLCB is no stranger to bad decisions or poor service.
Merely expanding store hours or allowing direct shipment of wine will not fix its fundamental problems. Full privatization of both retail and wholesale wine and spirit sales is the only solution.
Privatization will give both residents and entrepreneurs the choice and convenience they desire, create thousands of new jobs and bring an influx of new revenue, which could be used to ease the budget burdens facing Pennsylvania. But the UFCW — which spent $1 million of its members' dues on political ads against privatization last spring — stands in the way.
Despite the opposition, it's encouraging to see lawmakers acknowledging the need to reform the PLCB. Maybe Pennsylvanians will finally get what they desire: an end to the state liquor monopoly.
The writer is a policy analyst with the Commonwealth Foundation (commonwealthfoundation.org).