Jul 24, 2011

Selling liquor is not legitimate government role

Guest Column by Kevin Shivers

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was established in 1933, four days before Prohibition was repealed. Its purpose, according to Gov. Gifford Pinchot, was "to discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as expensive and difficult as possible." On that standard, the PLCB has been a gleaming success.

The purchase of alcohol in Pennsylvania is every bit as expensive and difficult as Pinchot imagined. The National Federation of Independent Business believes that the private sector is able to deliver legal products to a free market better, less expensively and more efficiently than the government.

We also believe that with appropriate oversight, private businesses can sell alcohol just as safely. There's no evidence that Pennsylvania is more effective than the 48 states that allow private sales at preventing substance abuse or underage drinking. Private businesses would have an incentive to operate responsibly, including the threat of prosecution, lawsuits and license revocation. Plus, Pennsylvania trusts the private sector, under reasonable supervision, to sell firearms, tobacco and other dangerous products.

State Rep. Mike Turzai has introduced legislation that would privatize liquor sales and bring us into the 21st century. Our members think it's time to toast the end of the PLCB.

Kevin Shivers, State Director, National Federation of Independent Business

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