Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Executive Director Joe Conti says he believes the state Wine and Spirits Shoppes are doing a good job of serving their customers. “I think we make a compelling case that we probably deliver as well as any free-market situation.”
He says the state stores are generating tax revenue and also making a profit, and proponents of privatization would completely change the tax structure.
“We have a 30 percent markup, an 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax and then the sales tax on top. They get rid of all of those taxes and they go to a gallonage tax, and unfortunately to keep it revenue-neutral, the same $390 million that we generate, to generate $390 million with a gallonage tax, it’s the second-highest gallonage tax after Alaska in the entire country.”
Conti says the prices of some items would double under a privatization bill now before the state house of representatives, and what the Liquor Control Board really needs is more flexibility in pricing so it can act as a modern retailer. He Appeared Thursday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.