HARRISBURG, Pa., June 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Independent State Store Union (ISSU) today issued the following letter to all senators asking for the defeat of House Bill 466 – the Rep. Turzai liquor privatization bill as amended by the Senate.
June 29, 2015
In an attempt to provide additional revenue for the 2015-2016 budget, the Senate is poised to consider a bill that would divest the state of the current liquor store system. While it has been widely stated that the current liquor privatization plan will generate an additional $220 million for the General Fund, one aspect of the plan has not received nearly as much publicity – where the additional $220 million comes from.
The simple and honest answer is from the pockets of consumers through higher shelf prices on liquor and wine.
As Senator McIlhinney pointed out Sunday morning on the CBS 21 news show Face the State and again Sunday evening in a Senate Law and Justice Committee meeting, we cannot divest the current liquor system, maintain current revenue and generate an additional $220 million without expecting the cost of liquor and wine to increase dramatically.
So much for the promise of "better prices" under a privatized system as promised by privatization advocates over the last four years of this debate.
Since the current privatization plan being considered by the Senate will increase the number of establishments selling wine and liquor for off-premise consumption from 600 to nearly 14,000, product selection will suffer as well. Very few of those 14,000 locations will stock the number of items available at the current state stores. The number of outlets will dictate that the overwhelming majority of retailers will limit their stock to the top ten or twenty items.
So, there goes the second major promise – better selection – that privateers have used to win public approval of their privatization efforts.
That leaves "convenience" as the only remaining argument to justify the divestiture of the current liquor system. Under this plan, "convenience" translates into 14,000 locations offering only the top ten or twenty products at highly inflated prices.
Are your constituents willing to pay the cost for this so-called "convenience"?
Pennsylvania already has the cleanest and safest liquor stores that carry a greater selection at a cheaper price than nearly all other privatized states.
Please OPPOSE HOUSE BILL 466 and efforts to privatize and divest the current state store system.
Michael A. Troyan, President
Independent State Store Union
SOURCE Independent State Store Union