The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 11, 2013

Voodoo economics

Daily Item

---- — Gov. Corbett has unveiled his plan to privatize the states liquor system. It was an interesting proposal but, as so many previous plans, it is not a good thing for the residents of this commonwealth. This plan would take voodoo economics in Pennsylvania to a new level -- not an easy thing to do with past governors like Shapp and Rendell. Why do I make this statement? Please allow me to expound. First is the plan to take the $1 billion from the auction of licenses. There will be different levels of licenses and different prices depending on the county you live in. He also says this is a one-time infusion and that's where the biggest flaw in this plan occurs. At the end of every fiscal year (key word every) the PLCB writes a check to the General Fund of $500 million which in the old math was $1 billion every two years. That is a sure thing, not based on if the licenses are sold and for the price projected. Secondly, this governor has no plan to cover the expense of paying unemployment benefits or education grants to the 4,000-5,000 jobless residents he will create. Many of us who work in the stores are in our 40s or, like me, mid-50s. Who's going to hire us first? What good is a college course paid for by a state in deep debt already going to be? In addition for the local economy the state stores are all rented buildings and many local business people would take a huge loss with no rents coming in. Lastly, consider the state of Washington. which privatized in June 2012. Their governor, three months afterward, regretted the move. Prices increased 30 percent across the board, selection decreased and border states Idaho and Oregon have had increases of 40 percent. In addition, according to KIRO-TV, a county attorney and detective from King County and a Seattle city attorney and detective have had to do nothing but investigate fraud and basically black market chicanery from bar and restaurant owners trying to save money. Gov. Corbett wants to be the funder of education by taking jobs away and hoping people forget he took money from them, and the Legislature restored it. Take the sure thing and forget privatization, governor. Voodoo economics has never worked before and it won't now either.

Harry Prentiss, Sunbury