The state’s monopoly on liquor sales faces an unrelenting challenge from some quarters in the General Assembly. In the latest round, state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, introduced legislation, HB 2426, that would require the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to make it clear that their liquor advertisements are funded with taxpayer dollars.
“It’s really meant to show the glaring hypocrisy in the entire system,” Bloom said. “On the one hand they are there to control liquor sales, and on the other hand they are advertising trying to increase sales.”
HB 2426 would require all product advertising done by the PLCB to include the legend “This Ad Paid for by You, the Taxpayers of Pa.”
“Now when you see the ads you have no idea it’s the government behind them,” Bloom said.
He said the PLCB spent $5.8 million on advertising last year.
Shawn Kelly, a spokesman for the PLCB, said the agency is reviewing the bill and will discuss it with members of the House Liquor Control Committee “at the appropriate time.”
Last spring, Bloom voted in favor of legislation, HB 790, that privatizes liquor sales. The bill has failed to move in the Senate, and attempts this year at moving legislation that would privatize even a portion of sales stalled before the House and Senate recessed for the summer.
“I feel taxpayers deserve to know when their hard-earned tax dollars are being used to support the PLCB’s misguided marketing efforts, and it demonstrates one more reason why we need to get the taxpayers of Pennsylvania out of the business of selling booze,” Bloom said.
— J.L.K. •