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CLEAR Coalition Opposes Proposals to Dismantle PLCB

Privatization 'Lite' Schemes Threaten 5,000 Family-Sustaining Jobs

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The CLEAR Coalition is urging lawmakers to reject Gov. Corbett's latest proposal to dismantle the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and allow thousands of grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants and bars to sell beer and wine to go.

These so-called 'privatization lite' proposals would force the PLCB to close stores and lay-off hundreds of Pennsylvanians and lead to the collapse of the entire system while jeopardizing more than $550 million in profits and taxes that the PLCB generates yearly.

"The governor and the privateers aren't fooling anyone. This is a first step toward dismantling a valuable public asset that works very well for consumers and all Pennsylvanians," said David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 and a leader of the CLEAR Coalition.

"The PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) provides 5,000 family-sustaining jobs and more than $550 million last year in taxes and profits to the state treasury. It makes no sense to throw all that away so that Walmart can make more money in our Commonwealth."

Fillman added, "It is especially odd that the governor would make yet another attempt to privatize a great asset after his failed bid to turn over our state lottery to a foreign-based company. It's time to focus on improving these assets – not giving them away."

CLEAR represents more than 1.1 million working Pennsylvanians, including members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, which represents 3,500 men and women who work in the wine and spirits shops and approximately 400 AFSCME members. The coalition has long supported efforts to modernize and improve public assets such as the PLCB and the PA Lottery.

Rick Bloomingdale, President of the PA AFL-CIO noted that the governor has an opportunity to support common sense legislation to improve both the PLCB and the Pennsylvania Lottery to increase badly-needed revenue and improve both of these valuable public assets.

Lawmakers in both parties support common sense modernization proposals that would allow the PLCB to provide greater customer convenience and improve operations to generate more revenue for the state. These proposals include expanded Sunday hours and direct shipment of wine to consumers' homes.

State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo has proposed legislation that would include many of these improvements, among others, and create up to $185 million a year in additional revenue for the Commonwealth.

"It's absurd to jeopardize these jobs and this revenue at any time but to consider doing so when the state is confronting a massive budget deficit and we are still trying to recover from the Great Recession is reckless and irresponsible," said Bloomingdale.

"We can improve the PLCB for consumers. We can make a very successful lottery even stronger. It's time to move past ideology and put Pennsylvanians and working families first,"

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