Last week's question: Do you support Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to privatize the liquor industry?
Yes — 85 percent
No — 15 percent
From our Facebook page:
Yes, I support it because it is the way that most other civilized, modernized states operate. Let's join the rest of the modern society, PA!!
Government should not be in the wholesale or retail business with any goods. Their job should be regulation and enforcement.
Yes I do, and purely on idealogical grounds. The state government has no business being in the retail trade.
—John G. Kramb
Yea agree less state employees
—Greg Hess KeystoneRestorations
From our LinkedIn group:
Its a giveaway to the big box contributors to his campaign, and will result in significantly higher prices and less selection. It's really not a liquor privatization plan, its a Let's Put Beer on Every Street corner plan.
—Randy K. King
Yes. Drive 45 minutes south into Maryland – better selection, prices, and customer service. The government should not be involved in retail sales, especially when it gives itself a monopoly. The only real question is how to compensate and protect the beer distributors who established their businesses under PA’s nonsensical regulations.
No,absolutely not If you drive deep into parts of Maryland that were largely developed before extremely restrictive zoning ordinaces were put into place, road corridors, streets and old working class towns contain many fly by night looking liquor stores! The old Route One Corridor between Baltimore and the Elkton Area is one of many examples. Most areas just south of the Mason Dixon Line have extremely rigid agricultural zoning so places like Northern Frederick County are not so much the problem. However last time I looked a small liquor operation was in operation off Route 15 a couple of hundred feet from the PA border. These operations are often ugly and contribute to a blighted, seedy atmosphere. Pennsylvania has thousands of boroughs and villages that are under economic stress. All that they need for economic and physical decline to intensify is for a fly by night liquor store to open up in an area already infested with semi abandonment, cheap rents, vacant spaces and slum landlords. Our many fragile Pennsylvania communities cannot tolerate this. Some of them alredy have "problem bars" to contend with. The heavily "agriculturally zoned " parts of Maryland and extemely wealthy places like Chevy Chase, Potomac or Bethesda are not at all like Pennsylvania's susceptible small boroughs and villages. By the way I have stopped at several stores in Maryland to check out wines. Service in none of them was as good as it always is right here at at the Mechanicsburg State Store.
—Richard Schmoyer AICP
Seems like people who are against privatization are those who have lived in PA all their lives and haven't had the experience of the convenience, price and selection that can only happen when the Commonwealth gets out of the liquor business.
We as Pennsylvanians should pay a lot less taxes than we currently do. We own liquor stores and have a gas industry. People in AK get checks from their state since they have oil. Why can't our legislators figure it out! I used to believe in private stores until I realized that we as residents own them. They should be profitable though and might need some adjustments to their operations,
I can respect other's statements about the havig a beer stop on every corner will decay communities.
Might it be a sound alternative to permit liquor and beer sales at "distributors" and grocery stores? Set parameters to exclude "mini-marts" from "grocery store" classification.
Evidence from other states show that mini-marts selling alcohol in low income neighborhoods is a large contributor to the decay in such communities.
—James Carchidi, CSP
PLCB employs over 3,000. 2,200 work in the retail environment, several hundred more work to support that retail environment. Full time state employees are eligible for state retirement. Privatization will shift these jobs to the private sector where there will be a reduction in wages and a rejiggering or elimination of the retirement benefit.
Privatization eliminates the cost of real estate leases, logistics costs etc., a long term benefit to the taxpayer and a penalty to retail landlord. Privatization would certainly increase the number of retail liquor establishments and increase demand for retail space.
The state enjoys a monopoly and prices accordingly. Privatization would be beneficial to the consumer (businesses and the public). Taxes would remain the same or rise because of better selection of higher priced higher quality items.
Monopolies will typically make a choice between price and quality. The state of PA (with a few exceptions) has chosen the former at the expense of the latter. In cases where a quality store is established these costs are shifted to the taxpayer. A competitive, private alternative is more efficient.
Like almost every state around us, wine (and possibly beer) would finally be sold in the grocery stores; another convenience to the consumer.
The notion that liquor stores will suddenly pop up on each commercial corner is unrealistic considering that competition will most certainly regulate the number and location of those stores. Local municipalities will still maintain zoning privilege; dry communities will remain dry, zoning can dictate location. The primary reason liquor stores pop up around the Pennsylvania border is due to price driven by PA tax policy. Apply the same logic to state stores as we have to state licensed casinos and PA consumers will drink and gamble at home.
The primary concerns that I have is the method the state selects to unwind the current system. Who will get the licenses, will it be a lottery? Sealed bids? There are several options on the table that leads me to believe that the mom/pop retailer will be unable to participate in what will certainly be a substantial redistribution of wealth.
So to me it's not a matter of yes/no - it's a matter of how and when.
Governmental bodies as a whole continue to be far overreaching. Focus on safety, health & welfare for the people, and our environment.
In the spirit of enterprise; stay out of the way. Leave business and entrepreneurship to the people. Afraid drunkenness falls under H&W? Improve education.
Can you say, "Ma no BELL ie" (sounds like, Ma Bell and Monopoly). Besides, next up will be the government's monopoly on marijuana.
In the spirit of debate, and with my respect to one's position on the matter:
Mr. King, beer on every street corner? Unlikely. Permits, licenses, taxation will not be able to replicate the tryings of a Rite Aid.
Mr. Smoyer, concerned about service? Consider a Wal-Mart and K-mart vs. Dillards and Nordstrom.
Ms. Fleck, do we own them? Do you attend shareholder meetings? Can you buy stock if you like? Sell if you don't? Whose interest do they really serve?
Mr. Carchidi, you're in favor of regulated distribution? That's not democratic, let alone American.
Bottom's up! Or, for the proper folks, Cheers!
So taxes can be collected other than just sales tax. The stores can order different items than what the LCB mandates; also can order from online and out of state vendors.
Mr Hess;Trust me I will not be going to a Walmart or K Mart to buy booze.
My concern is for the proliferation of low quality liquor outlets in locations within our boroughs and villages that canot tolerate them, areas where low cost rental space is available, but where a less than well managed operation can help destroy what is left of a Main Street. I have lived in a location in Pa with my family that was beset by "problem bars". Drugs and alcohol abuse problems, loitering, and crime proliferated into neighborhoods and made life miserable for many people. Ultimately we had to leave because of this situation. I don't want to see yet another type of unregulated outlet come into our fragile older communities and take down neighborhoods and tax bases even lower than they already are. I'm not a tee-totaller, but I do think that the state store system helps to constrain some drinking and alcohol abuse, and that they keep problems that could harm a town at bay. As far as selling liquor products at a Walmart or alternatively at some hoity toity place, that would most likely result in more family income going to liquor when it should going to raising children or helping to pay for grandma's about to be raised medical bills. Unbekownst to most citizens, the Part A medicare deductible (the hospital) was already raised by $1000 annually effective Jan 1, 2012 as part of the already approved phase of debt reduction. Wait till next year and it will get even more expensive for them. We should not be making alcohol more accessible as we reduce the social safety net for elders, handicapped, veterans and children from lower income families. That is a conservative, not a liberal postion. Tax payers are strapped and cannot afford more traffic cops, jails,courtooms, probation officers, or social welfare costs to deal with more alcohol and drug related issues. We already have more people in jails than Red China and Russia combined.
—Richard Schmoyer AICP
This week's question:
Do you agree with Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to deal with pension reform?
Tell us why or why not.
To answer, visit www.CPBJnow.com.