If Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board has its way consumers will shop its stores more often and drink more often, at least that is the goal. The harder Governor Corbett tries to privatize the state run business the imaginative push-back he gets from LCB’s board.
LCB board members appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to talk about ways it can make the 70 year old agency more consumer friendly. Open more stores on Sundays, figure out ways to offer lower prices, streamline hiring practices, and sell and ship spirits from its website, moves that would take the cooperation of the legislature.
“We’re endeavored to create a world-class business operation,” LCB Board Chairman Patrick J. Stapleton said. “Unfortunately, we’re limited in certain respects…”.
To which, Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, (R-Centre) said, “I hear you saying that you want to be more like a private business. That begs the question of why not just privatize like 31 other states.”
Governor Corbett favors selling the LCB, and with an estimated price tag upwards of $2 billion, the governor has plenty of allies. Supporters of putting the LCB out to pasture believe it will lead to better service and lower prices.
But opponents such as Senator Jim Ferlo, (D-Allegheny) described the push toward privatization as,”financially foolhardy.”
Dumping the LCB will cost Pennsylvania about $500 million in annual tax revenue, and roughly 5,500 state workers would potentially lose their jobs.
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