Just Get Rid of It Already!

Our governor sets off the stench detector with his latest appointment of a CEO to the PA Liquor Control Board:

State Liquor Control Board Chairman Jonathan Newman is quitting to protest the “heavy-handed, political” method that Gov. Ed Rendell used to select the board’s new $150,000-a-year chief executive officer.

Rendell chose a retired politician. This reeks of returning a political favor:

Some critics claim the hiring looks like a political deal because he supported some major Rendell initiatives, such as raising the personal income tax and legalizing casinos, but Ms. Philips denied politics was involved. Mr. Conti couldn’t be reached for comment.

Ms. Philips said Mr. Conti chaired the Senate committee that oversaw liquor issues and was active in pushing for Sunday sales of liquor and beer. She said he knows the liquor business because his family owned two restaurant/bars in Bucks County.

No politics involved my ass. The real question is why we still have the LCB at all? Seriously, I get sick of having to drive to New Jersey to be able to get decent wine and real top shelf booze. Try getting decent scotch in a PA state store, and you’ll quickly see what I mean. Under Newman’s leadership, the LCB has done a good job of reforming itself, with Sunday hours, premium stores with better wine selections, and locating state stores inside of supermarkets. All positive moves. But the LCB still sucks, and it’s time the state legislature dissolved it and sold off its assets. I don’t see what benefit we get from the state being in the business of selling wine and booze, and I’m tired of the LCB continuing to pop up as a political issue. I think the state can find better things to worry about.

2 thoughts on “Just Get Rid of It Already!”

  1. Pennsylvania ownership of all of the liquor stores is a funny thing. Ask anyone whether or not they like the state being the sole purveyor of booze, and they’ll tell you they hate it. They want to be able to buy at least beer and wine at supermarkets. They complain about the high prices compared to stores in New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland. Then, whenever the idea of selling off the state stores comes up in an election – the last I remember was the gubernatorial race of 2002 – no one wants to do it.

    You see, for Pennsylvania it’s a revenue stream, and whenever we get into a pinch, it’s all about upping revenue. If we sell those stores, we lose the revenue. Yeah, and we’ll also lose the liability of running them.

  2. Yeah. Eliminating the LCB is an uphill fight politically, I think largely because it makes money for the state. You’re right about the LCB being universally hated, but when people go into the voting booth, they don’t have the LCB on their mind. No one is going to vote a politican in or out based on where he stands on the issue of priivitizing the state store system.

    So people bad mouth the LCB, but no one really hates the system enough to do something about it. Most of us can go out of state to get what we want anyway.

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