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    PA Liquor Board Delays Action on Fee Increase

    Wine, liquor manufacturers get six-month reprieve.

    HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With a change in the governor's mansion only six weeks away, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has tabled any decision on a pending increase in the logistics, transportation and merchandising fee it charges wine and spirit manufacturers for six months.

    In a recent release, the PLCB stated the move will give Gov.-elect Tom Corbett, his administration and the General Assembly time to pass legislation on long-sought business-practice reforms that would generate higher levels of profit for the state. During the same six-month period, set to expire June 30, 2011, the board will not OK any proposed price increases by the manufacturers of the wine and spirit products sold in the PLCB's more than 640 stores, the release added.

    "For 17 years, the LCB has generated substantial profits for the state's General Fund without once increasing the operating fee we charge the makers of wines and spirits that distribute their products from our warehouses to our stores," explained chairman Patrick Stapleton in a release. "But nearly two decades of rising costs are beginning to constrain our ability to continue generating profits at those levels."

    A one-time operational savings made the six-month moratorium possible; however, the board urged the incoming governor and assembly to pass legislation enacting business-modernization reforms that will enable the PCLB to sustain, and increase, profits without a fee increase, the board said. "We hope our private-sector business partners will join us in using this time to make the case for these best-practice modernizations," Stapleton added.

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