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Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Urges State Legislators to Reject Privatization of the State's Wine and Spirits Shops

July 14, 2011


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder urged members of the State Legislature to reject State Representative Mike Turzai's legislation to privatize wine and spirits sales, calling it a very bad idea.

"Representative Turzai's plan puts our communities at greater risk, eliminates a valuable public asset that generates close to $500 million in revenues and taxes each year, and destroys 5,000 family-sustaining jobs," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said.

"To propose putting hard-working Pennsylvanians out on the street while risking millions in much needed revenue is absurd. It is especially galling in the wake of the new budget that Governor Corbett signed into law," Bloomingdale added. "Thousands of workers will lose their jobs due to the deep budget cuts and now we're going to risk a half billion in revenue each year and the elimination of 5,000 more good jobs? This is a very bad idea," Bloomingdale said.

"Public safety is a core function of government. Representative Turzai's privatization plan puts our communities in greater danger. It could lead to more drinking by minors, and more social problems linked to alcohol abuse, including crime, domestic abuse and child abuse," Snyder added.

"Privatization cannot match the performance of more than 600 wine and spirits shops in collecting taxes, enforcing the drinking age, in not serving intoxicated people, and offering a broad selection of products at competitive prices to consumers," Snyder added.

"So far right-wing ideologues haven't come up with real solutions to solving the jobs and economic crisis Pennsylvanians face. So their knee jerk reaction is privatization, which has been proven time and time again, not to work. It defies anyone's definition of logic to give away a solid proven source of revenue and jobs, because lawmakers lack the initiative and ability to work on other forms of economic recovery," Snyder concluded.

In April the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC), Task Force on Community and Prevention Services recommended and for good reason, "No further privatization of alcohol sales."

The CDC stated, "Based on its charge to identify effective disease and injury prevention measures, the Task Force on Community Prevention Services recommends against further privatization of alcohol sales in settings with current government control of retail sales, based upon strong evidence that privatization results in increased per capita consumption, a well-established proxy for excessive consumption."


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