In the 2010 elections, Republicans took over a number of rustbelt Democrat-controlled states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, putting the governorship and legislature in GOP hands. While Governors like Snyder (R-Mich.) and Walker (R-Wisc.) have accomplished an impressive list of reforms, such as tax relief, entitlement reform, and ending coerced unionization, Pennsylvania Republicans have very little to show for their time in power.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s government holds a monopoly on the wholesale distribution and retail of liquor across the states. State control of wholesale liquor operations does not benefit businesses or consumers. To the contrary, it limits competition, consumer choice and convenience. A reasonable question that many Pennsylvania taxpayer are asking themselves is, “what is the point of having Republicans in control if they can’t even get the state out of the liquor business?” 

ATR president Grover Norquist accurately described the byzantine system still in place in Pennsylvania, nearly four years after the GOP took control of state government: “You have this Bulgaria 1956 retail system for liquor,” Norquist says. “All they (the stores) lack is the picture of El Supremo.”

Simply put, selling liquor is not a core function of government and it’s hard to imagine how any reasonable person could argue otherwise. Passage of legislation to privatize the alcohol wholesale and retail system in Pennsylvania would be a boon to consumers, resulting in a much wider selection of brands available, with private distributors offering the most competitive prices. No longer would taxpayer dollars be used to prop up state-run liquor stores. 

ATR reached out to Pennsylvania taxpayers, urging them to end this indefensible monopoly, which you can read here. Between now and November, ATR will continue to monitor this issue closely and educate Pennsylvania voters as to how their representatives in Harrisburg vote on this important manner.

Photo credit: Staci Myers