Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hooch at Home?

As a hearing in Philly continues on the proposed sale of State Stores, the state LCB offers yet another "improvement."

Hooch at Home?

To me it sounds a tad desperate, but the state Liquor Control Board is offering yet another "improvement" in service -- home delivery.

The Inky has details.

This comes as the House Liquor Control Committee, controlled by Republicans who support selling off the State Store system and privatizing the booze biz, holds the last of its public hearings on the sell-off plan at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

It comes as the committee chairman, Philly GOP Rep. John Taylor promises the issue, which lost some steam of late, isn't going away.

So forgive me if I question the timing of news that the LCB has started a "pilot program" of customer-friendly, door-to-door service.

And, before you get anywhere near excited about the prospect of not schlepping out in the cold this winter but having your favorite spirits brought to your home, make sure you check the specifics.

For one thing you can only order specialty items such as pricey wines. For another you get charged a $14 shipping fee for up to three bottles plus a dollar for each extra bottle. For another UPS is required to get a photo ID and signature for delivery.

This should work out great for stay-at-home rich people with cultivated palates. Not so much for working stiffs who'd like an econo-sized bottle of Jack waiting on the porch when they get home.

Sorta reminds me of the last "pilot program" the LCB tried: wine vending machines in grocery stores that required customers to blow into Breathalyzers.

That looked like something from a TV sit-com and lasted less than a year.

So I don't expect this new pilot to provide salvation for the LCB. Which means we can get back to fighting over conflicting claims such as Democratic state Auditor General Jack Wagner's assertion that privatization means higher consumer prices and less money to the state's General Fund or the Corbett administration's claim that it means nearly $2 billion in new, up-front revenue and ongoing revenue close to current numbers.

Might be best to just stay home, order up some specialty spirits, settle in and watch the legislature stumble through another issue that may or may not ever get resolved.

Cheers. And Grrr!

 

 

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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