Pennsylvania Boozehounds Spur State Liquor Stores to Record Profits
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said Monday it enjoyed record profits in the last fiscal year, a time when special interests were spending millions to advance or derail efforts to privatize liquor and wines sales after 80 years of state control.
Robust sales and cost controls generated net income of $128.4 million in the year that ended June 30 — an increase of $24.9 million, or 24 percent, over the previous year, the board said.
Revenue from the more than 600 state stores — the board is gradually “rebranding” them as Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores — reached nearly $2.2 billion for the year, a 4.5 increase that the board said is also a record. Retail wine sales showed the strongest growth, a 6 percent increase, thanks in part to the Chairman’s Selection program.
Those numbers might amount to an argument against privatizing the liquor stores. After all, AP points out, those revenues went back into the state treasury, where “$24 million went to state police for enforcement of state liquor laws and $8 million was paid in local taxes to Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.” Take away those revenue streams, and folks might find themselves paying higher taxes. Let the drinkers pick up the tab for the rest of us, right?