The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 26, 2013

We all pay the price

According to The Seattle Times, Washington state has had the misfortune of experiencing a net job gain, increased sales, more than 1,000 new retailers, and greater sales tax revenue. Did Pennsylvania really dodge a bullet by keeping its antiquated liquor system this past spring?

After Washington privatized, a single liquor business opened a new distribution facility and added more than 1,000 jobs by itself. In contrast, the entire state-run monopoly system employed just 902 people. Admittedly, prices are up in Washington, but that's because they added new fees and raised liquor taxes, which are now the highest in the nation.

That "perfect system" Mr. Prentiss is looking for? He's right, I can't devise one. That's why I say we let the free enterprise system work. I trust entrepreneurs in the Susquehanna Valley and across the state to meet the unique needs of their own communities. Competition breeds innovation -- something that's been sorely missed in Pennsylvania's liquor system for more than 80 years now.

Keeping what we've got means the system will be run by political appointees in Harrisburg like former PLCB CEO Joe Conti. Mr. Conti retired earlier this year only to be brought back on an "emergency basis" at $80 an hour, all while still collecting a pension. Those are the kinds of personnel decisions that lead to business failure in the private sector, but for the PLCB, it's just business as usual -- and we're all paying the price.

John Bouder,

Shamokin Dam

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