I have been a critic of the campaign that the Post-Gazette continues to wage to privatize the Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits stores -- a campaign waged in spite of mounting evidence that privatization is bad fiscal and public health policy. However, I have to agree with you that linking privatization with transportation funding is a shortsighted idea ("No Mere Luxury: Liquor Privatization Is About Much More" May 29).
We need to make significant investments in our transportation infrastructure. Many of our roads and bridges are crumbling, posing threats to public safety and our state's ability to grow jobs and businesses.
A safe infrastructure allows businesses to move products efficiently and is a vital component of a growing economy. A transportation funding measure would help create tens of thousands of jobs as well, a key consideration given that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate continues to track higher than the national average.
At the same time, your readers need to know that selling the stores would do more harm. It makes no sense.
Privatizing them would jeopardize more than $100 million in annual profits that they generate for the commonwealth and, according to Gov. Tom Corbett's own experts, would land more than 2,300 Pennsylvanians on unemployment.
The most recent Franklin & Marshall survey found that voters have their priorities right: Privatizing the liquor stores and the Pennsylvania Lottery ranked dead last in importance, while fixing roads and bridges came in fifth place out of 11 choices.
Lawmakers and Gov. Corbett need to focus their attention on real challenges our commonwealth confronts.
WENDELL W. YOUNG IV
The writer chairs the United Food and Commercial Workers of PA Wine and Spirits Council and is president of UFCW Local 1776.