July 18, 2011

Privatization of the PA Wine and Spirits Shops is a bad deal for taxpayers

The misguided attempt to dismantle the PA Wine and Spirits Shops would cost more than 5,000 Pennsylvanians their jobs and badly-needed revenue that now funds vital state programs, the leaders of the PA Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenues (CLEAR) said in a recent public statement.

“It makes no sense to break up a public asset that generates significant revenue and provides good paying jobs for Pennsylvania workers. Why would anyone want to add to the ranks of our unemployment at anytime – much less in the midst of a brutal recession,” said David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 and Chair of the CLEAR Coalition. “Lawmakers should focus their attention on fixing our state economy and on making sure our state generates enough tax revenue to fund key programs. Selling off an asset that works for all Pennsylvania defies common sense.”

Fillman noted that earlier this month the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) reported record sales of nearly $2 billion last fiscal year and a record return to the state of almost $500 million, also a record.

PSEA is a member of the CLEAR Coalition, which represents more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians. CLEAR is committed to a sustainable budget that prevents harmful cuts to essential public services, saves jobs and makes taxes fairer.

“Experience in other states show that the privatization of public assets doesn't work, whether we're talking about schools, highways or liquor stores. What the legislators should be doing is looking for ways to maximize our resources like taxing shale extraction and closing tax loopholes not looking for quick fixes that jeopardizes vital programs and employment," said Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

“To propose putting hard-working Pennsylvanians out on the street while risking billion in revenue is absurd. It is especially galling in the wake of the new budget that Gov. Corbett recently signed into law. The budget calls for draconian budget cuts, layoffs in dozens and dozens of school districts. And now we're going to risk $500 million in revenue and 5,000 jobs? This is a bad idea,” Bloomingdale stated.

PA CLEAR urges its members to contact their legislators and urge them to reject any privatization proposal. For more information, visit www.clearforpa.org.



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