Pennsylvania Should Get Out of the Liquor Business

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As previously covered on DrinksReform.org, Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Commission recently let slip that it was planning to raise prices on 422 items in its state-run liquor stores. The Inquirer's editorial board took the state government to task over this decision and calls for privatizing the state's liquor business:

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s decision to raise prices this week on hundreds of brands of wines and spirits is just the latest reminder of the need for lawmakers to privatize the State Stores.

The Liquor (out of) Control Board refused to disclose which brands received the price increase. But the costs of more than 400 products were increased by at least $1. More than two dozen of those items were jacked up between $2 and $100.

The price hike comes a year after Gov. Wolf signed Act 39, the latest Harrisburg Band-Aid designed to move the state beyond the antiquated Prohibition-era liquor laws. One of the “reforms” included in the measure gave the Liquor Control Board the ability to implement more flexible (read: higher) pricing.

Previously, the LCB had to settle for marking up its liquor products by just 30 percent across the board. Under the new and not-so-improved measure, the LCB can increase prices as much as it wants...

Of course, there is a simple solution to the state’s exorbitant pricing: Pennsylvania should get out of the liquor business altogether. Selling liquor licenses to private retailers would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for state coffers. More important, allowing competition would result in lower prices, greater selection, and better service for consumers...

You can read the entire editorial here.