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Corbett Presents Liquor Privatization Plan

January 31, 2013

Governor Tom Corbett on Wednesday unveiled a plan to move Pennsylvania out of the liquor business over a four-year period.  He wants to use the proceeds for education.

The plan would get the state entirely out of the wholesale and retail liquor businesses.  During the four-year phase-in period, Corbett expects the plan to generate one billion dollars, which he says would be used to create the Passport To Learning Block Grant Program for public education.

The number of wine and spirits stores in the Commonwealth could be doubled to about 1,200.

The plan would require alcohol retailers, including wine and spirits shops, grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores to utilize I-D scanning devices.  Fines would be increased for sales to minors and to visibly intoxicated persons..

The additional money from license surcharges and increased fines would be designated for enforcement efforts.  The Governor also proposes increasing alcohol treatment and prevention efforts.

Meanwhile, opponents of the proposal are already expressing their arguments.  The state’s largest teachers union says students should not need to count on liquor sales to have properly-funded schools.  And, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union claimed the Corbett plan will threaten some 5,000 jobs even as it drastically expands the number of alcohol outlets.

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