Here’s the best reason for leaving Pennsylvania’s liquor sales in the hands of the state: Selling booze makes a lot of money for Harrisburg’s bank account.
The agency that controls liquor and wine sales in Pennsylvania has transferred a record $526 million to the state government’s main bank account.
A report issued Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says the total for the year ending June 30 is $13 million, or 2.5 percent, higher than the previous year’s transfer.
Most of that revenue comes from state liquor and sales taxes, but it also includes profits of $80 million that was transferred early at Gov. Tom Corbett's request while this year's state budget plan was being assembled.
In addition to $526 million in contributions to the General Fund, the agency also remitted $8.3 million in local taxes to Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, $25 million to the Pennsylvania State Police, $2.5 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and $4.5 million in licensing fees returned to local municipalities.
Some of that money would surely be lost if the system were privatized. That deosn't mean the system shouldn't be privatized, but the difficulty of replacing that revenue is the best argument that defenders of the status quo have to make.