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On right track

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, November 20, 2014 8:55 p.m.

After four years and countless hours wasted in a debate over dismantling the Liquor Control Board, the agency continues to deliver for consumers and all Pennsylvanians ( “LCB nets record revenue because of strong wine sales, revamped stores” ).

In short: another year and another sales record set. As the Trib noted, improvements to the stores as well as to the agency’s operations helped drive $2.24 billion in revenue, according to the LCB’s annual report. Those improvements include adding at least one retail wine specialist to each of the agency’s 75 premium collection stores.

The fact is that the LCB could do more for its consumers and for taxpayers. Commonsense proposals, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to improve customer convenience could lead to more than $185 to $200 million a year in new revenue for the state. These proposals include adding Sunday stores and increasing Sunday hours, opening more stores inside of or next to grocery stores and creating more premium shops.

The additional revenue will only add to the more than $550 million in taxes, profits and other transfers that the LCB provided the state last year. This revenue helps to support vital state programs and services, from the state police to our public schools.

Last year’s results make it plain that the LCB is on the right track. It’s time for lawmakers to get out of the way and allow this agency to continue improving its operations for all Pennsylvanians.

Anthony M. Helfer

The writer is president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 in Canonsburg, which includes state store workers.

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