The big new controversy, or is the same old controversy, of the year is the rumors that the PLCB’s will be ended when Governor-Elect Tom Corbett takes office. As more and more people get frustrated with the laws and restrictions associated, privatization of liquor stores seems like an increasingly popular option to give Corbett a quick “win” to start his term. With such a contentious issue, there are many sides to consider, which may be why this issue has failed three times in the rather immediate past.
Taxes: To help with a $5 billion PA defiicit, selling 620 stores can easily generate $2 billion, a move much needed when Corbett has promised to neither raise taxes on the citizens nor tax Marcellus Shale businesses. While a good short term decision, it is important to decide how many taxes are too many to keep the current revenue the PLCB brings in if stores are privatized.
Drunk Driving/Underage Drinking: The PLCB currently has its own policing system to deal with these issues and can point to the low underage drinking numbers of Pennsylvania as evidence. Removing this force may or may not give local police more responsibility and may or may not lead to increases in both problems, but it will certainly enrage such groups as MADD which could be formidable opponents to Corbett’s gubernatorial service.
Jobs: Privatization will result in a rather immediate loss of approximately 5,000 jobs for those working in PLCB stores, most of whom are part of the state-wide union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776. Some discussion has ensued regarding the requirement of hiring the same people for positions in new stores. This requirement seems fraught with problems, especially when considering smaller businesses.
No More Kiosks: Really, that’s my own issue, but I’ll be glad if they’re gone since they cost the state a bundle and are already down for maintenance like not giving customers their wine. Genius.
In the current plan, the PLCB would still exist, the number of stores sold is up for discussion, additional stores would likely result, and it is likely that jobs would increase.