State House Approves Liquor Privatization Plan

March 22, 2013
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A plan to privatize the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania was approved in the state House on Thursday, and is now on its way to the Senate.

The vote to sell off state stores and sell liquor licenses to private businesses was 105-to-90.  It marks the first step toward a win for Governor Tom Corbett in his efforts to privatize certain areas now governed by the Commonwealth.

Amendments are likely in the Senate.

The House plan would create 1,200 new wine and spirits licenses, giving current beer distributors the rights of first refusal.  Grocery stores would also be able to purchase licenses to sell wine.  Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says goals in his chamber should include improvements in price, selection and convenience.

Many opponents of the plan stress the number of state employees who would lose there jobs.  Supporters respond that there will be thousands of new jobs in the private sector.  There has also been extensive debate as to whether the privatization plan would really bring in as much money as projected, and whether product prices would decrease or climb.

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