Liquor board postpones fees on manufacturers
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The state Liquor Control Board has temporarily set aside a plan to increase fees for wine and spirit manufacturers, it announced today.
Instead, the board will place a six-month moratorium on a "handling charge" increase that was scheduled to start Jan. 4.
Kevin Harley, spokesman for Governor-elect Tom Corbett, called the decision "a victory for the consumers of Pennsylvania."
"The last thing that the Liquor Control Board should be doing is imposing additional taxes on consumers," Mr. Harley said.
Local business-owners who peddle wine and spirits also lauded the decision.
"I'm very pleased that they've decided to revisit this issue," said John Graf, one of the owners of the Priory Hospitality Group, parent company of the North Side's Priory Hotel. "... It was really going to sink into the margins of restaurant owners and bar and tavern owners."
The price increases, announced in August, would have varied from product to product. But they could have meant an additional charge of about $1 to $1.50 per bottle on the several thousand varieties of wine and spirits sold at the 620 state-owned liquor stores, as well as higher prices for drinks at restaurants and neighborhood watering holes.
It was the first time in 17 years that the board decided to increase the fee, citing higher costs for shipping, storage, transportation and marketing of its products.
But the board announced today a moratorium on the pending fee increase until June 30, 2011, stating that during this period of time, it will not approve any proposed price increases by the makers of products sold in it stores.
In a news release, the board also urged Mr. Corbett's incoming administration and the General Assembly to pass legislation that would save the board money in other ways.
First Published November 18, 2010 7:16 pm