The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 10, 2013

Readers' Forum 2-10 | Pros, cons of state store privatization

— Concerning the Pennsylvania liquor stores being privatized, I realize there are pros and cons. I was employed by the Liquor Control Board as a clerk from 1959 to 1961.

We had customers who wanted high-priced imported and domestic wines. Most larger state stores now carry a large selection of fine wines.

We also had special orders where you could purchase a case of product we didn’t normally stock.

When the licenses to private stores are issued, will customers get the same service the present liquor store employees give you now? Of course not.

Imagine a manger of a bar or restaurant going into a retail grocery store to buy his weekly or monthly order, perhaps 100 bottles. He would have to have several people with him to carry his order. He also may have to go to several stores to fill his order because one store may not stock all of what his customers want.

Every item sold in a state store still has the so-called 1936 Johnstown Flood repair tax added on. It now stands at 18 percent. There is a 30 percent mark-up on every bottle sold, plus $1.30 handling charge. There is also a round-up charge of $1.09, plus a 6 percent sales tax that now makes a $10 bottle of wine cost $19.25.

There is $200 million collected every year that goes into the state’s general fund for discretionary use by our lawmakers. Call your state representative and let him or her know how you want them to vote if they get a chance.

Ralph Barndt

Paint Township


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