What different newspapers are saying: What would exchange the state’s Liquor Management Board? | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Republican state Rep. Natalie Mihalek’s proposed constitutional modification to get Pennsylvania out of the booze enterprise is simplicity itself: “The Commonwealth shall not manufacture or promote, at wholesale or retail, liquor.”

The state authorities’s solely reputable roles relating to alcoholic drinks needs to be regulation and enforcement — licensing wholesalers and retailers, establishing legal guidelines and rules and implementing them, setting taxation charges, and so forth.

But the state authorities has a complete monopoly over wholesale and retail gross sales of liquor, wholesale management and close to complete retail management of wine, and regulatory management of beer gross sales.

The system is a convoluted, anti-consumer mess. It options absurdities like requiring a separate checkout for beer and wine gross sales in supermarkets, that are allowed to promote wine and beer for takeout provided that they set up an space to dine in.

Alcoholic drinks are shopper merchandise that needs to be bought by way of the non-public sector. System defenders insist that the state should retain its monopoly for the sake of public security, in that state staff gained’t danger their jobs by promoting to underaged folks — a place that assumes a private-sector retailer would danger a multimillion-dollar license by doing so. And if security is the problem, why doesn’t the state promote weapons?

The opposite argument is the potential lack of state income from private-sector conversion. However the state nonetheless would proceed to gather taxes on alcoholic beverage gross sales, and it might lose related prices.

Statewide, the Pennsylvania Liquor Management Board has greater than 600 retail shops and about 2,500 full-time staff. The scale of the state market would guarantee a strong private-sector trade and quite a few job alternatives.

Because of their huge expertise with the PLCB, a majority of state voters possible would vote towards the monopoly. However additionally they ought to know what they might be voting for.

As a constitutional modification, the proposal must cross two consecutive periods of the Legislature earlier than being despatched to the voters. It handed the Home Liquor Management Committee on Thursday, by a 14-10 party-line vote. That provides proponents loads of time to offer a complete image of private-sector wholesale and retail operations.

— Scranton Instances-Tribune

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