HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – Picking up a bottle of wine and liquor in Pennsylvania could soon cost more.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s fixed pricing formula is gone, and the PLCB now has the authority to negotiate with its suppliers and adjust its prices. It wants distributors to sell them the products for less. If that doesn’t happen, 450 types of alcohol will likely go up a dollar each.
The PLCB says the increase will be used to boost its waning general fund and will go towards things such as education, public safety and health initiatives.
Act 39 is the vehicle the PLCB is using for the proposed increase. John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, said when ACT 39 was first put into practice, it was a revolutionary adjustment to liquor laws in Pennsylvania. Some significant changes under ACT 39 were a 10 percent reduction in the markup of special liquor and pricing flexibility. However, Longstreet said everyone thought the legislation would help people save money, but says everyone was misled.
“It is a monopolistic system that needed some relief. Instead, it looks like it is going to lead to price increases,” Longstreet said.
So the options are to buy cheap or drink less.
Bessi Amobi is one customer who is not happy about the proposed increase.
“I’m a drinker. I drink to socialize, get my head right, take mind off of my problem. I can only afford a bottle once or twice a month as it is,” Amobi said.
Distributors have to decide if they will negotiate pricing with the board and if price hikes happen, they will start at the end of August.
“They are robbing us man. What is going on? Our government is running rampant. Somebody needs to stop them,” said Khay Ruddin, a resident of Harrisburg.