GOP Holds Budget Hostage to Personal Priorities

Nov 16, 2015, 09:19 ET from UFCW Local 1776

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- House GOP Leaders continue to waste time, energy and taxpayer money by considering – again – legislation to dismantle the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that Gov. Tom Wolf has already vetoed, said Wendell W. Young IV, President of UFCW Local 1776.

"Here we go again. The Republican leadership continues to play political games instead of focusing on their most important responsibility – passing a state budget," Young said. "The budget is more than four months late. Social service providers, from food banks to domestic abuse services and rape counseling services are cutting back or closing. And the House Republicans are most concerned with putting thousands of people out of work."

Young noted lawmakers in both parties, as well as independent experts agree that under no circumstance would any privatization scheme generate new revenue in the first year.

In a study commissioned by former Gov. Tom Corbett, Public Financial Management (PFM) found privatization would force lawmakers to come up with an additional $408 million in the short term. PFM found privatization would cost more than $1.4 billion in transition costs over five years, including $58 to $68 million in unemployment compensation costs over five years.

This past fiscal year the PLCB increased its contribution by providing more than $584 million in profits, taxes and other transfers to the State Treasury. This includes contributions of $25.7 million to Pennsylvania State Police and $1.7 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

In the last five years, the PLCB has contributed more than $2.57 billion to the State Treasury, including $116.7 million to State Police, $10.5 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol, and $22.4 million to local communities.

"This legislation is all about smoke and mirrors and jeopardizes revenue. Governor Wolf was right to veto this bill the last time around.  This bill is just as bad today as it was in July," Young said.

Young reiterated UFCW's longstanding support for legislation to modernize the PLCB to allow for more Sunday stores and hours, the direct shipment of wine to homes and the opening of additional stores inside of or next to grocery stores.

"It makes no sense to break this asset up so that big chain retailers can make more money. Common sense proposals to improve the PLCB would generate at least $185 million in new revenue in the first year alone," said Young.

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SOURCE UFCW Local 1776