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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2013 02:13 PM
From: Representative Stephen Bloom
To: All House members
Subject: Taxpayer Notice on PLCB Advertising
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently reported that the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) spent about $5.8 million on advertising last year, up from about $4.7 million in 2011-12.

By the PLCB’s own account, last year’s wine and liquor ad spending included the purchase of 20,594 commercials on 45 radio stations, 6,181 commercials on 55 TV stations, and print ads/inserts in 12 newspapers statewide. Other advertising included social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest), mobile apps, a website, and billboards.

The purpose of this taxpayer-funded advertising is to increase consumption of alcoholic beverages. The PLCB’s own 2012-13 annual report celebrates “sales growth,” which it attributes in part to the expanded advertising efforts.

Meanwhile, the PLCB is spending millions in additional taxpayer dollars to combat the abuse and irresponsible consumption of these very same alcoholic beverages.

While I have long favored abolishing the PLCB’s monopoly on wine and spirits sales, I find it particularly egregious that the governmental agency entrusted with regulating liquor is now immersed in a counter-productive statewide liquor promotion campaign.

As my fellow members are well aware, substantive legislation to end PA’s state-run wine and spirits monopoly cleared the House earlier this year and awaits Senate action. Regardless of the form that legislation ultimately takes, if and when it becomes law, I believe it is important now, in the interests of transparency and accountability, to better inform and educate the citizenry as to the self-contradictory and inefficient PLCB policy of spending taxpayer dollars to advertise alcoholic beverages.

Therefore, in the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that would require all product advertising by the PLCB, in any form, to include a prominent statement which would read: “THIS AD PAID FOR BY YOU, THE TAXPAYERS OF PA.”

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as HB2426