Friday, May 3, 2013

HB 790 – Getting Pennsylvania Out of the Liquor Business

Only two states in the nation, Utah and Pennsylvania, have their governments in the business of selling alcohol.  Yet, every Democrat that cast a vote on HB 790, the privatization of Pennsylvania’s liquor stores, voted against it.  It seems Pennsylvania Democrats believe selling booze is a necessary function of government. 

They used scare tactics, arguing that underage drinking would increase and DUI-related incidents would go up.  So, we took a peek at the actual statistics.  Turns out, Pennsylvania   already does worse than other states on both counts.  The current system is producing higher underage drinking than the national average and more DUI-related incidents than 34 other states.

They invoked taxes, talking about how much tax “revenue” we will lose.  Again, turns out, we are already losing tons of revenue under the current system.  23.6% of Pennsylvanians are purchasing their wine elsewhere, causing Pennsylvania to lose $17.3 million in taxes. 
Finally, they argued about jobs.  Surely, tons of jobs will be lost by closing state-run liquor stores, right?  Well, the proposal actually more than doubles the amount of outlets for wine and liquor.  Common sense dictates that if you double the number of stores, you will create an environment where more jobs will be created than lost.

Now, the bill is in the Senate.  Odds are, unfortunately, that they will let the proposal die.  Or, perhaps worse, hold the liquor bill hostage to their demand for more spending (don’t forget, it’s budget time.)
Reach out to your Senator and ask them how they will vote.  If you aren’t sure how to reach them, click here.

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