Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Releases Annual Report

WILKES-BARRE — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) released its annual report for fiscal year 2021-22 this week, detailing the agency’s operations, sales trends, popular products and financial results.

The annual report provides an overview of the agency’s finances and provides insight into functions such as store operations, licensing, marketing and merchandising, supply chain, wholesale operations, information technology, alcohol education and human resources. The document is filled with statistics and information on how the agency operates and where the money it generates goes.

The annual report also shows sales by product category, individual product, county, e-commerce, stores, and sale periods. For example:

• Vodka, whiskey, tequila and ready-to-drink spirits led the list of product categories with the highest year-over-year dollar gains, with increases ranging from 2.6% to 63.8% in all categories.

• Retail sales of $2.12 billion — though down 3.4% year over year — shows a return to “near-normal” pre-pandemic shopping patterns, with retail accounting for about 75% of total agency sales in US dollars and license revenue is $704.2 million settle the rest.

• Total e-commerce sales for fiscal 2021-22 totaled $13.5 million, down 19.2% in dollar sales year-over-year. Although they have declined since fiscal 2019-20, when FWGS.com experienced unprecedented growth due to COVID-19 and the temporary closure of FW&GS stores, sales and transactions in e-commerce dollars remain higher than pre-fiscal growth rates Pandemic year-on-year. with a 171.9% revenue increase for 2021-22 and a 160.4% transaction increase compared to 2018-19.

• Unflavored vodka was the top spirits category in 52 counties, while American whiskey was the top spirits category in the remaining 15 counties.

• California Cabernet Sauvignon was the Best Wine Category in 34 counties, while an additional 24 counties had Box Red Wine as the Best Wine Category; California Chardonnay followed in six counties and beverage wine in three.

• The top three counties – Allegheny, Philadelphia and Montgomery – accounted for 35% of statewide sales.

A limited number of copies of the report will be printed to save costs. This report – and reports from previous years – are available at lcb.pa.gov.

Meuser is co-sponsor of the legislation with the aim of increasing funding opportunities

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, is co-sponsoring a bill that will give smaller communities, which are often disadvantaged, greater opportunities to apply for, receive and administer federal grants, particularly for revitalization projects.

Representative Scott Franklin, R-FL, introduced the Simplifying Grants Act, which aims to make it easier for governments that serve fewer than 50,000 people to obtain funding. The bill is the House companion to legislation introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. This legislation would require agencies to streamline the complex process for all current and future funding opportunities. It would also expedite response to communities affected by natural disasters.

“These grants are funded by the taxpayer, but larger entities often have an advantage when they receive them because they hire grant writers and have lobbyists to get them,” Meuser said. “This law would directly benefit counties, townships, cities, villages and school districts to compete fairly to receive grants.”

At least 64 municipalities in the 9th district, which Meuser represents, with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants can benefit from this bill.

The law requires that the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has 180 days to simplify applications for grants that qualify non-urban local governments with fewer than 50,000 residents. This would apply to existing and new future programs.

Agencies would also have to provide a checklist for each required step of the grant process within 180 days.

“My staff and I work hard year-round to bring federal grants to various facilities in our district,” Meuser said. “We hope this law sets the stage for us and for similar areas across the country.”

Cartwright legislation will improve federal protocols for purchasing software

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, this week introduced the Strengthen Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act — bipartisan legislation to improve oversight of the federal government’s software purchases and reduce wastage of tax money.

Every year, the federal government spends billions of tax dollars on software purchases, renewals, and license changes. Limited valuations of existing software assets combined with the way vendors sell software often result in federal agencies making duplicate purchases. Without increased regulatory oversight and governance, software vendors will benefit at the expense of American taxpayers.

The Act to Strengthen Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets would require federal agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their current software assets and restructure their operations to reduce unnecessary costs.

“Without thorough assessments of how government agencies buy and use software, vendors often have the upper hand in federal agency transactions,” Cartwright said. “This bicameral, bicameral, bipartisan legislation will streamline software procurement practices across the government to the benefit of American taxpayers.”

The Act to Strengthen Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets builds on the success of Rep. Cartwright’s MEGABYTE Act, which reduced duplicate software purchases. The bipartisan MEGABYTE Act, signed in 2016, saved American taxpayers over $450 million.

Specifically, this new legislation would require:

• Federal agencies should submit an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software purchasing practices to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the General Services Administration (GSA).

• Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to develop a plan to adopt enterprise licensing agreements, improve bargaining power with software vendors, and reduce costs.

• OMB publishes a government-wide software modernization strategy based on the above reviews and plans.

• Agencies should include their respective plans and performance reviews in the annual budget requests.

This legislation is being introduced by U.S. Representatives Dan Meuser (R-PA-09), Ed Case (D-HI-01), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Danny Davis (D-IL-07), and Brian Fitzpatrick carried (R-PA-01), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Mike Levin (D-CA-49), Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Katie Porter (D-CA-45) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) . ).

father Department of Aging: Medicare Annual open registration period is ongoing

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging reminded Medicare beneficiaries this week that the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period now runs through December 7 and Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) is available to help.

PA MEDI is Pennsylvania’s state health insurance assistance program. Available through the 52 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), it provides free, confidential and unbiased education and support for Medicare-eligible individuals, their families and carers to help them make informed health insurance decisions that drive cost savings optimize and access health care and social services.

Open enrollment allows beneficiaries to join, switch, or cancel Medicare Advantage or prescription drug coverage. It’s also time to reflect on which achievements matter and compare the options available for 2023. A recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only three in 10 beneficiaries compared their current plan to other Medicare plans offered during the 2020 open enrollment period Coverage and costs vary widely between Medicare Advantage plans and partial D plans for prescription drugs

“From year to year, Medicare Advantage plans may change their premiums, co-payment requirements, and choice of medications and ancillary services covered, as well as provider networks or prior approval requirements,” said Susan Neff, director of PA MEDI. “These changes could result in unexpected and avoidable costs and coverage gaps for beneficiaries who do not review their options at least annually. We encourage beneficiaries to read their plan’s annual change notice and compare the options available on Medicare.gov or contact PA MEDI, the well-known and trusted local source for objective Medicare information.”

Beneficiaries can visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to compare plans.

Trained advisors are available by phone, virtually or in person through AAAs throughout the Commonwealth during open registration and throughout the year. Older adults may contact their local AAA to schedule an in-person counseling appointment. For more information, they can call the toll-free PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All services are free and confidential.

You can reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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