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Pennsylvania: Mustio Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Liquor Price or Fee Increases Without Legislative and Executive Approval

Pennsylvania: Mustio Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Liquor Price or Fee Increases Without Legislative and Executive Approval
Source: Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus
Jun 14th
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) would prohibit any price or fee increases imposed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) without prior approval from the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the governor’s signature.
According to Mustio, objections to the LCB’s highly questionable Logistics, Transportation and Merchandise Factor Fee (LTMF) prompted the introduction of House Bill 1661.
“Despite adhering to a previous warning from Governor Tom Corbett against any additional taxes or fees on consumers, the LCB is back with a new plan to dramatically increase the LTMF fee by converting from a flat per container fee to a percentage-based fee on current product costs by size,” said Mustio. “This shift will significantly and unfairly inflate the shelf price of a product following any supplier price increases. No matter how you do the math, the LCB’s conversion scheme amounts to higher costs that are inevitably passed on to consumers.”
As an example, Mustio cited that the LTMF fee on a 750 ml bottle of wine that costs the LCB $10 is currently $1.30. By shifting that $1.30 flat fee to a percentage fee, the LTMF skyrockets by 13 percent on all future price increases. If the price of that $10 bottle of wine increases to $14, the Johnstown Flood tax is then imposed on the final cost of any product containing the LTMF fee, resulting in an even higher price for the consumer.
“The real question then becomes how is a 750 ml bottle wine that costs $10 easier to handle than a 750 ml bottle of wine that costs $50?” said Mustio. “The only possible answer is that the unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats at the LCB have the unchecked authority to declare, ‘Because we say so.'”
As a final illustration for the necessity of House Bill 1661, Mustio cited the LCB’s corresponding implementation of a Bailment system where the supplier retains ownership of the product that is stored in the LCB’s bailment warehouse until it leaves for the retail store.
“Essentially what the LCB is attempting to achieve by implementing a Bailment system is collecting endless handling fees for products they are no longer handling,” said Mustio. “Whether flat or percentage based, any liquor fee increase is a liquor tax increase. Final passage of my legislation will bring about some long overdue prohibition in the form of legislative and executive checks and balances against the LCB’s uninhibited ability to tax Pennsylvania consumers without representation.”