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Legislator of the Month

By in Latest News Comments Off on Legislator of the Month: November 2015

Legislator of the Month: November 2015

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

November 2015: Representative Seth Grove (R)
Serving Part of York County, District 196 

Beyond Tax Cuts, We Need Pro-Growth Reforms 

 

Like so many industries in the commonwealth, taverns across Pennsylvania are struggling under the lack of predictability and increased costs which originate in Harrisburg. Governor Wolf’s budget would increase taxes by 16% on small business owners and consumers. On June 1st, I led the charge to defeat these taxes and joined with my colleagues on October 7th to again defeat the governor’s taxes.

Opposing tax increases alone is not enough to grow our economy; growing our economy requires passing pro-growth policies which create a predictable and healthy environment for job creation.

Over the past year, I have worked on passing such pro-growth policies including supporting liquor privatization to expand competition and lower costs for consumers. In addition, I introduced, and worked with the Senate, to move legislation preventing local governments from passing their own paid leave mandates. These mandates at the local level force companies to comply with non-consistent regulations throughout the commonwealth which lead to increased costs.

Along with increasing competition and stopping new government mandates, I have worked with the Pennsylvania courts to move legislation out of the house and create a legal environment conducive for business. By specializing in business matters we can offer companies a faster, consistent and more predictable legal process.

In the future, I plan to introduce legislation to reform the Human Relations Commission (HRC). On average, the HRC takes over 480 days to decide a complaint, which dramatically increases costs. These cases are overwhelmingly dismissed due to lack of evidence for discrimination. My legislation would reduce the process to 130 days and force individuals to pay legal costs for unfounded complaints. 

As you can see, we have been busy passing more pro-growth reforms to create a more complete and beneficial business environment to keep current businesses and attract more businesses. 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Legislator of the Month: September 2015

Legislator of the Month: September 2015

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

September 2015: Senator Ryan Aument (R)
District 36, Serving Part of Lancaster County 

Responsibility Should Be A Guiding Principle 

Throughout my time as a member of the General Assembly, increasing government responsibility and accountability has been among my highest priorities. This philosophy has served as a guiding principle in my support of numerous government reform measures, including one of the most important good-government measures considered by the legislature this year – removing the state’s monopoly on liquor sales.

Although Governor Wolf ultimately vetoed the privatization plan approved by lawmakers, I have every confidence that Pennsylvania’s qualified, competent retail licensees would have met the challenge of privatization and helped deliver a quality experience for consumers. It is unfortunate that licensees were robbed of this opportunity to increase customer convenience and selection.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association’s dedication to responsible public policy makes them a strong ally to lawmakers. In addition to promoting sensible legislation pertaining to alcohol sales, they offer a unique opportunity for members to improve their business through Responsible Alcohol Management Training (RAMP) courses for employees. This training course helps protect businesses against expensive errors that can lead to liability lawsuits, higher insurance premiums and penalties for alcohol violations. 

Current law requires owners and managers of liquor-licensed establishments to receive RAMP certification from the PLCB, including certifying at least 50 percent of alcohol service personnel. I recently introduced a bill that would expand this requirement to include all alcohol service personnel. 

I introduced the bill after speaking with a local woman whose daughter was a victim killed in a drunk driving accident in Lancaster County in 2007. In that tragedy, the driver who caused the accident had been served alcohol at multiple local businesses prior to the accident, despite visible signs of intoxication. Expanding training requirements will help ensure all employees are equipped to identify and handle similar situations safely and responsibly. 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Legislator of the Month: August 2015

Legislator of the Month: August 2015

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

August 2015: Senator Jake Corman (R)
Majority Leader

Moving Forward on the Liquor Reform Front

Since being elected Majority Leader of the Senate by my colleagues, I have been working hard to move forward each major issue affecting our Commonwealth. On of those issues deals with moving Pennsylvania out of the liquor business, ensuring Pennsylvanians get what they want – greater consumer convenience for liquor sales – while keeping safety paramount and protecting the private interests of employers such as the members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

After months of hard work and negotiations between the Senate and House of Representatives, Governor Wolf chose to veto legislation that would bring the existing liquor system into the 21st Century and allow private businesses to do what they do best – serve consumers. The legislatively-approved plan listened to the wants of consumers, added $220 million to state revenues, protected the welfare and licenses of local employers and brought Pennsylvania in line with systems in place in 48 other states.

Despite the Governor’s veto, 2015 still has the possibility of being a landmark year when it comes to reforming the state’s antiquated system. In the coming months, I will continue to work toward reforms that will move forward consumer convenience and private sale of wine and liquor. Just as I and my colleagues in the Senate and House have heard the call for liquor reform over the past few years, I am confident those public calls for action will be heard in the months ahead, finally ending the liquor monopoly in the Commonwealth.

I remain committed to the position that Pennsylvania should not be in the business of selling liquor. As negotiations with the Governor on the state budget move forward, liquor discussions will continue to be a part of the debate as will the role members of the Association.  

By in Latest News Comments Off on Legislator of the Month

Legislator of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

July 2015: Representative Mark Mustio (R)
Serving part of Allegheny County

Recently, I traveled on my own dime to visit the state of Illinois to see for myself if the legalization of video poker machines and other electronic gaming terminals would be an equally winning bet for Pennsylvania.

What I discovered is that, based on the recently implemented Illinois model, the electronic gaming expansion legislation (House Bill 808) that has already been introduced in the Pennsylvania House does in fact hold the potential to deliver a new, legal and completely profitable industry that could easily reach $1.4 billion annually and $500 million a year in new tac money for the state within two years. 

These revenue totals are a safe and accurate estimate because both Pennsylvania and Illinois share very similar demographics. For starters, legalizing electronic gaming terminals would replace the tens of thousands of illegal, untaxed and unregulated video poker machines that are currently operating all throughout the Commonwealth.

Owned and maintained by private Pennsylvania companies, each tavern or club would be legally permitted to operate a maximum of five terminals which would be wired to a central computer to assure absolute accountability. The overall operations would be under the direct control and supervision of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 

So just how much is this type of electronic gaming expansion growing the economy in Illinois? 

Illinois received about $90 million in tax revenue from video poker when it was first legalized in 2012, but is now estimated to generate as much as $300 million in 2015. Last year, according to Illinois Gaming Board figures, video poker players electronically wagered $8.2 billion, winning $7.6 billion. That left $660 million to be split among local governments and businesses. 

All totaled, the state of Illinois receives 25% of video poker revenue; with 5% going to municipalities; while the machine vendors and licensed establishments split the remaining 70% equally. Adding to these numbers are the thousands of new jobs created in the hospitality and vending industries through increased employment of highly trained electronic technicians, drivers, bartenders, wait staff, etc.

Virtually any way you crunch he numbers, fully legalizing electronic gaming in Pennsylvania would be a multi-billion dollar game changer for hotels, restaurants, clubs, job creation and our economy.