Americans for Tax Reform state director, Patrick Gleason, published an op-ed in Forbes encouraging the Pennsylvania legislature to pass legislation that would end the state’s complete control over alcohol sales.

In Pennsylvania, as Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist recently explained in USA Today, “you have this Bulgaria 1956 retail system for liquor,” adding, “all they (the stores) lack is the picture of El Supremo.” A survey of Pennsylvanians commissioned by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board itself found that most are not happy with the arcane status quo. Seventy percent of those surveyed did not believe Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and spirits stores are competitive with privately operated stores in neighboring states. Over half of those surveyed did not believe prices were affordable at state-run stores.

The Pennsylvania House commendably passed legislation (House Bill 790) last year that would partially privatize spirits wholesale distribution and sales. While it would be preferable for the state to sell all government-run retail stores, the House-passed bill represented a big improvement over the status quo and a significant step in the right direction. That bill, however, has been stymied in the Senate.

The Pennsylvania government has no business running wholesale and retail liquor operations. If the Republican-controlled Senate would simply take up and approve the House-passed bill to begin getting the state out of the liquor business, Pennsylvania Republicans could take to the campaign trail this Fall able to credibly assert they have achieved a major and long-overdue reform. 

The Maine Wire ran an article detailing Americans for Tax Reform’s response to congressional candidate Kevin Raye’s comments about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in last night’s debate.

But according to ATR spokesman John Kartch, Democrats have used the same talking points to criticize the pledge, and they’ve been thoroughly debunked by independent fact-checkers.

“His arguments against the Pledge come straight out of the DCCC playbook,” Kartch said in a statement. “To claim the Pledge prevents tax reform or the elimination of any particular deduction and/or credit is simply false. ATR President Grover Norquist created the Pledge in 1985 to help pass the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the most comprehensive tax reform legislation to date.”

“The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes by elimination this-or-that tax preference by itself,” explained Kartch. “Rather, the Pledge tells politicians that such base broadening is acceptable only in the context of tax reform- broaden the base, lower the rates, and don’t raise the net tax burden in the aggregate on American families and employers. A tax preference eliminated today is a tax preference not available for tax reform.”

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