Energy - August 9, 2013

PLCB notes record sales year

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has reported record sales for the fiscal year that closed on June 30.  Revenue increased 4.5 percent over last year with dollar amounts nearing $2.2 billion; that’s a $93 million increase from last year’s revenues.  Wine sales increased about 6 percent and liquor sales were up 3.7 percent and licensee sales increased slightly by 1.4 percent.  PLCB paid a record amount into the General Fund of $512 million in sales tax, liquor tax and transfers; an overall increase of $18 million.  Another $8.1 million went to Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, $24 million went to the Pennsylvania State Police, and additional funds went to drug and alcohol programs and some licensing fees were returned to municipalities.  Over $550 million was contributed back to state and local entities, a $21 million increase from last year. 

The increase in sales may help reinforce the argument against privatization, citing that the system works and consumers are satisfied; though critics point out that touting a record sales year with a monopoly on the industry is hardly a sign of a system that is successful.  Pennsylvania and Utah are the only states that still control the sale of retail and wholesale wine and spirits in the US. 


Pennsylvania chooses new chancellor to head state university system

Frank Brogan has been chosen to head up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.  Brogan was in charge of a similar system in Florida since 2009 and would have been out of a job by August 2015 because he participated in Florida’s deferred retirement program.  Brogan will leave his post on September 30 in Florida and receive a one time payout of over $622,000 plus monthly retirement benefits.  He starts at PASSHE on October 1 with a salary of $327,500; a pay cut from his current salary of $357,000, he will be the highest paid state employee. 

Brogan is a career educator and prior to heading Florida’s state system he spent time as a teacher before being elected as Marin County superintendent and then education commissioner.  Brogan then served as Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s lieutenant governor before becoming President at Florida Atlantic University.


Governor Corbett embarks on annual summer kayak trip

Governor Tom Corbett headed out on a three day kayak trip for the third summer in a row.  Corbett has enjoyed the great Pennsylvania outdoors post-budget via kayak every summer since he took office.  This year Corbett set out on the Juniata River for a the three day trip and on day two was joined by fifteen staff members from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Fish and Boat Commission.  While staff may have joined him, Corbett set the rules, no political chatter.  Corbett has said he kayaks for exercise and “to promote rivers and tourism” in Pennsylvania.  This trip was considerable quieter than last year’s float down the Delaware River; where Corbett was met with protestors fighting against natural gas drilling in the Delaware Basin.