Parkland Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Rep. Mike Schlossberg assails Gov. Corbett's liquor plan

Thursday, February 7, 2013 by MIKE SCHLOSSBERG State Rep. 132nd in Opinion

Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed privatization of state liquor stores is another example of governance by ideology, not reality.

Liquor sales generate $500 million worth of yearly state revenue. But, at a time when the state budget is already thin on revenue, this governor seeks to divest an important asset and set the stage for increased school taxes.

In an attempt to sell his plan, Corbett proposes to make education the beneficiary of proceeds from the sale of liquor stores.

But, if the governor really cares about education, he should explain why he sliced more than $1 billion from it in the past two years.

In Parkland and Allentown, those state subsidy cuts were directly responsible for fewer teachers and higher property taxes.

Corbett wants to sell the state store system for $1 billion. However, we would lose $500 million a year of annual state revenue in perpetuity.

So, after two years, we'd be in the red. What happens then? How much bigger will our class sizes get?

How much higher will our property taxes rise? How many more teachers will be laid off?

Corbett's plan is the equivalent of using your savings to pay for a mortgage. It is the very height of fiscal irresponsibility, and I sincerely hope Pennsylvanians are not fooled.

Ultimately, if you want to provide for education, you separately maintain and increase state funding for it; you don't bank on a one-time windfall by selling an asset that provides a reliable commonwealth revenue stream.

And, if you truly care about reducing unemployment, you don't sell a system that would cost Pennsylvanians 5,000 jobs.

We can modernize the liquor system through innovations such as Sunday sales, direct wine shipments and more market-based pricing, to bring about additional convenience and efficiency.

Just because a system can be improved doesn't mean it should be eliminated.