Free and Fair Wine Shipping in PA
The PA Legislature is currently working on a bill that would outlaw the shipment of wine from out-of-state into PA unless the wine is shipped through the PA LCB system and taxed at an additional 24% (17% Johnstown Flood Tax + Local Sales Tax). This would also make PA Wineries follow the same rules making their business model very uncompetitive. The PA Wine Freedom Group has a simple proposal below, please take the time to read and sign on. Harrisburg is listening, make your voice heard. Our thanks in advance, The PA Wine Freedom Group Free and Fair Plan The plan highlights the following concepts that ensure PA residents have access to wine and specialty spirits available throughout the country (world) without the red tape and additional taxes. 1. The Commonwealth adopt a policy that encourages direct shipment from wineries and specialty spirits firms throughout the United States and Canada. 2. The Regulation would call for the State to require any potential direct shipper to register (on-line would be best) with the PA LCB for a direct shipper permit. The permit would require the direct shipper to do the following: a. Ensure shipment is carried out legally and that the package is signed for by an adult. b. Collect a Direct Ship tax and remit to the Commonwealth on a regular basis (more below on Direct Ship Tax). c. Provide records to PA LCB Enforcement (upon inquiry) if a case of underage drinking or improper purchasing (credit card fraud etc.) 3. A Direct Ship Tax of 5% would be levied on the purchase by the Direct Shipper (winery, wine club, spirits club, beer club etc). This would be the only tax collected by the Commonwealth and would be returned to the General Fund. No local or Johnstown Flood Tax would be collected on these direct shipping purchases as VERY little State resource is required for this transaction and is clearly a revenue positive event. 4. Any potential negative effects to the Wine and Spirits stores (minimal at best) would more than be compensated for the increased tax collections by allowing all State residents to enjoy Direct Shipping. 5. PA Wineries would be treated exactly as out of State Wineries whereby they would be required to collect the 5% tax as well, except in the event on tasting room sales which would obviously be exempt. The benefits of this plan are very clear: More choice for PA consumers and more revenues for the Commonwealth. It is clear that by embracing the Direct Shipping model, the State can take advantage (modestly per transaction) but encourage an overall higher amount of revenue to the Commonwealth by an increase in transactions. Please note that the current plan in front of the House will dissuade PA residents against direct shipping and thus will force them to adopt criminal behavior (Out of State Importation). In this model the State receives zero dollars in tax revenues for a wine shipment made to Delaware instead of Philadelphia. In addition the State must find ways to enforce these new laws thus the needless waste of MORE taxpayer dollars. Enforcement of the Direct Shipment model would be easy as no winery or specialty spirits retailer may ship to the State without the permit. Reporting to the PA LCB would make this transparent. It is our opinion that the Direct Shipment proposal outlined herein is the best plan for the consumers and the Commonwealth.