HARRISBURG – Citing an inherent conflict of interest in the current structure of the state’s liquor store system, Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) today voted in support of legislation removing the state from the sale of alcohol in Pennsylvania.
Day, who voted in favor of similar legislation in 2013, noted two factors for his reason in supporting the bill. First, he said, that private enterprise is the more appropriate seller of alcohol in Pennsylvania because it is not a core function of government. Second, the transfer to the private sector likely would provide around a $1 billion of revenue during another tight budget year.
“Our current system of selling alcohol – both at the wholesale and retail levels – is an outdated monopoly that has no business in government. The private sector has proven time and time again that it has the ability to sell a product and do it in such a way that it benefits both the seller and the buyer,” said Day.
He also cited the long-standing conflict of interest within the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, an agency that both tightly regulates the sale of alcohol and promotes it. This sends a confusing message to consumers.
“On one hand, the PLCB has dedicated people making sure alcohol doesn’t get into the wrong hands, but on the other, it employs professionals to develop ways to increase sales,” he continued.
House Bill 466
would relinquish state control by offering licenses to those already in the alcohol sales business – which would then be able to offer beer, wine and spirits – and then to private owners. Under the measure, beer distributors would also be able to sell smaller quantities of beer, including growlers, six-packs and 12-pack containers. Distributors not wishing to sell the additional products would benefit from an overall increase in value of their licenses.
The legislation also would retain tight regulatory control to prevent alcohol from getting into the hands of minors; strengthen law enforcement; promote alcohol education efforts; and assist current employees of the system.
Estimates indicate that this switch to the private market would reap close to $1 billion in revenue, to be enhanced by renewable license fees, continuation of current alcohol taxes and recaptured sales in neighboring states.
To view Day’s video comments, click here
Representative Gary Day
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
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