House GOP Leaders continue to waste time, energy and taxpayer money by considering – again – legislation to dismantle the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that Gov. Tom Wolf has already vetoed, said Wendell W. Young IV, President of UFCW Local 1776.

“Here we go again. The Republican leadership continues to play political games instead of focusing on their most important responsibility – passing a state budget,” Young said. “The budget is more than four months late. Social service providers, from food banks to domestic abuse services and rape counseling services are cutting back or closing. And the House Republicans are most concerned with putting thousands of people out of work.”

Young noted lawmakers in both parties, as well as independent experts agree that under no circumstance would any privatization scheme generate new revenue in the first year.

In a study commissioned by former Gov. Tom Corbett, Public Financial Management (PFM) found privatization would force lawmakers to come up with an additional $408 million in the short term. PFM found privatization would cost more than $1.4 billion in transition costs over five years, including $58 to $68 million in unemployment compensation costs over five years.

This past fiscal year the PLCB increased its contribution by providing more than $584 million in profits, taxes and other transfers to the State Treasury. This includes contributions of $25.7 million to Pennsylvania State Police and $1.7 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

In the last five years, the PLCB has contributed more than $2.57 billion to the State Treasury, including $116.7 million to State Police, $10.5 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol, and $22.4 million to local communities.

“This legislation is all about smoke and mirrors and jeopardizes revenue. Governor Wolf was right to veto this bill the last time around.  This bill is just as bad today as it was in July,” Young said.

Young reiterated UFCW’s longstanding support for legislation to modernize the PLCB to allow for more Sunday stores and hours, the direct shipment of wine to homes and the opening of additional stores inside of or next to grocery stores.

“It makes no sense to break this asset up so that big chain retailers can make more money. Common sense proposals to improve the PLCB would generate at least $185 million in new revenue in the first year alone,” said Young.

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Albert Brooks
  November 17, 2015 8:40am

Tell the truth Wendell, I know it is hard but didn't the PFM report say OPERATIONAL and Transition Costs would be $1.4B with the Operational part being almost $1.2B? And doesn't that mean to keep the PLCB over the same period of time would cost over $2.4B? Of course, the PFM report is on a completely different plan which has little in common with the current proposal so it really doesn't apply any longer does it? This part does apply though from page 111: "Privatization was deemed successful from a revenue standpoint, with profits increasing by $125 million over the first 11 years of
Lew Bryson
  November 17, 2015 11:38am

Actually, they didn't "waste" (I'd say "use", but whatever) much time at all. The Liquor Control Committee passed that puppy on to the full House in under 15 minutes. If you blinked, you'd have missed it. Did it need a "full reading"? No, it did not, because EVERYONE knows what it's about by now: getting Pennsylvania's liquor and wine retail into the 21st century.
David Wilby
  November 17, 2015 11:42am

Let's protect your job Wendell instead of creating 12,000 more jobs. And if you are such a great union leader wouldn't you still get re-elected? Or do you know you are a dinosaur? Privatizing would create thousands of new union jobs for truck drivers and warehouse workers. Not to mention supermarket employee's that you supposedly represent.
Rich
  November 17, 2015 11:45am

Hey Wendell, doesn't the PLCB actually owe money to the state due to their pension liability, which is now reported as part of the financials? Wouldn't the state continue to collect taxes and add funds to the treasure even without a state jobs program? If private business can collect sales taxes I'd say they can collect liquor taxes as well.
Brad Miller
  November 17, 2015 11:50am

Fuzzy Math, Wendell. When you add the Pension Liability into the mix, the PLCB loses money for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians want service, convenience, variety and lower prices, none of which the PA State Stores provide.