Liquor veto keeps Pennsylvania in the Prohibition era

| 13 Aug 2015 | 10:26

To the Editor:
Many Pennsylvania consumers are returning home from their out-of-state summer vacations, only to be reminded that the state’s system for selling wine and spirits is still in the dark ages of Prohibition.

Under legislation passed by the House and Senate in late June, Pennsylvania consumers could have benefited from greater convenience and better selection, all while generating an additional $200 million each year and recouping more than $300 million from out-of-state sales lost to neighboring states. However, that modern proposal was rejected by the administration, a move that perplexed leading economic experts nationwide.

The majority of Pennsylvanians and newspaper editorial boards believe the state should not be in the business of both selling and regulating alcohol and favor a free-market system.

House Bill 466 would have allowed the state to continue to collect sales taxes on alcohol purchases, while generating as much as $200 million in recurring revenue to help with General Fund expenses. Instead of allowing this revenue to be used for the budget, the governor vetoed the bill, and would rather put the burden on the taxpayers, insisting upon $13 billion in increased taxes over two years, including a 20 percent higher income tax and an increased and expanded sales tax.

PA State Rep. Rosemary Brown