Talking about the PLCB – and the inane shipping laws that affect us wine-loving folk – is nothing new. Newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs have opined and complained and ranted and spewed on this very subject for years. But let’s put the direct shipping issue aside for a moment as something that is even more unsettling about the state’s ownership of the PLCB. It’s financial and fairly begs one’s attention:
Pennsylvania is $3.2 billion dollars in debt.
Now consider this: the sale value of the PLCB‘s holdings have been placed at $1.7 billion.
That’s a tad more than half of the deficit.
Selling the PLCB, privatizing it as it were, is not a new discussion. And, as this article in Lehigh Valley Live points out, it’s much too late to pass any laws to help the state in its current financial crisis. But with holdings of 1.7 billion dollars at hand – again, half the state deficit – it may be time to get noisy and educate all taxpayers, wine consumers or no.
1 Wine Dude (aka Joe Roberts) wrote a great piece on the subject earlier in the week. And I just stumbled upon the website Free the Grapes – a most excellent resource for those consumers wanting to educate themselves on labyrinthine wine laws throughout the lower 48.
All those arguments surrounding the PLCB are not soon to go away. Yet as a Pennsylvanian (and voter), educating oneself and wrapping one’s head around all the madness involved is worth one’s time. The recession is not going away anytime soon. And $1.7 billion? That’s a nice cache of cash.