I'd like to add some points to the Post-Gazette's July 29 editorial "Token Reform: The House Wine Shipment Bill Is Little Progress."
Pennsylvania's consumers want convenience and I wholeheartedly agree that more can and should be done to meet this request. The direct shipment of wine is one of many components of plans to modernize the state liquor store system to better serve Pennsylvanians.
The big difference between direct shipment and privatization is that one provides consumer convenience and helps small, family-run businesses, and the other will cost the state thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in revenue and have irrevocable social impacts.
It is possible to provide consumers with the convenience they want by allowing them to purchase wine and beer at grocery stores without hurting existing licenses or privatizing the entire liquor system. I have consistently stated that I support such consumer-friendly initiatives without losing a vital revenue stream and still providing a value to taxpayers.
Expanding the Sunday hours and implementing flexible pricing strategies will also benefit consumers. The Pennsylvana Liquor Control Board estimates these two initiatives alone would generate an additional $35 million per year in revenue.
Privatization will result in a loss of revenue and jobs. Our consumer convenience package will give Pennsylvanians the convenience they want and provide meaningful reform without handing over this valuable state asset.
State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Wilkins, represents the 34th District.