New Castle News

May 11, 2013

State-run liquor stores offer multiple benefits

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

The privatization of Pennsylvania wine and spirits stores is bad for the state and its citizens.

Wine and spirits stores are cash cows. They turn a profit, and when you auction them off, that money is gone forever, regardless of how much money the state may get for them today.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board website states it is the largest volume buyer of wine and spirits in the nation. John Doe’s liquor store simply cannot buy at the wholesale level that the state can.

Anyone who travels knows that Pennsylvania stores are very competitive and often the cheapest.

The state-run stores are some of the nicest, cleanest and most efficiently run stores I’ve ever visited. I’ve never been to a state store where I was fearful for my safety. Stores in areas with the potential for problems have security guards.

States with privately run stores are notorious for being in the worst part of town. Most also sell cigarettes, lotto and offer check cashing. The Liquor Control Board puts great efforts into making stores a pleasant experience.

Store managers are paid a livable wage. Part-time clerks make a good enough wage to care about losing their jobs if they sell to underage or intoxicated patrons.

Easy access to alcohol should not necessarily be viewed as a positive. A store that has profit as its interest would be more likely to sell alcohol to someone who is not legally allowed to purchase it. As a former wine and spirits clerk, I had nothing to gain or lose by denying a sale.

More alcohol means more DUI-related accidents and fatalities. I also suspect some of the people championing privatization will be the same ones protesting when someone wants to open stores in their neighborhoods.

Rob Cunningham

Stoughton Road

Slippery Rock