Amid Legislative Failure, Corbett to Introduce Liquor Privatization

pwcover0113All the way back in August 2011, a source told Philadelphia Weekly that if the Rep. Mike Turzai’s (R-Allegheny) liquor privatization bill failed, Gov. Corbett would strike at the Legislature and introduce his own legislation. Who would have thought it’d actually come to that?

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett will announce his very own liquor privatization bill from Pittsburgh, and while the details are a bit shady as of now, here’s what we do know, via a Philadelphia Inquirer article published 10 days ago:

… Corbett envisions auctioning off both the wholesale and retail operations of the LCB, much as House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) had proposed last year in a bill that died for lack of support… officials wanted to auction off State Stores and offer some of the licenses to beer distributors, who now can sell beer only by the case or the keg. Groceries, too, would be allowed to apply to sell wine and beer, as would convenience stores and big-box stores such as Walmart and Costco.

… Corbett is considering allowing for 2,000 retail outlets. As it stands, Pennsylvania has just over 600 wine-and-spirits stores and some 1,200 retail beer distributors. Under the administration’s tentative plan, beer distributors would be the only ones allowed to sell the booze trio: beer, wine, hard liquor. Grocery, convenience, and big-box stores could sell only wine and beer.

Other than that, it’s argumentation as usual. Most, if not all, Democrats do not support such legislation, and not just because it’d help break up UFCW Local 1776’s hold on liquor store employment. There are a mess of reasons and they’ll all likely be considered as the governor’s bill oozes its way into the Capitol building. (Equality PA, for instance, is against privatization because Pennsylvania’s LGBT community is covered from discrimination in employment at the state, not private, level.) As per a June 2012 PW blog:

Twenty-one U.S. states currently have sexual orientation employment discrimination laws on the books. Pennsylvania is one of five with discrimination laws in place for just public employees.

But if state stores are privatized, liquor store employees will no longer be state employees and, therefore, will not be privileged to these protections throughout the state, unless they live in one of the several local municipalities which have passed their own ordinances. Those include Philadelphia, Allegheny County, Allentown, Harrisburg, State College, Lancaster, York, and others.

Liquor privatization has been a controversial state issue since it was first put into law—back in 1933, when Prohibition ended and Pennsylvania’s Quaker governor wanted to “discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible.” More to come.

2 Responses to “ Amid Legislative Failure, Corbett to Introduce Liquor Privatization ”

  1. Jordan Gwendolyn Davis says:

    Here are the liquor laws of all the surrounding states.

    New York: Beer sold at beverage distributors, no matter what quantity, or any store that can pass as a grocery. liquor and wine sold at PRIVATIZED STORES
    New Jersey: Beer, wine, and liquor sold at PRIVATIZED PACKAGE STORES; with a few far flung supermarkets selling such.
    Delaware: Beer, wine, and liquor sold at PRIVATIZED PACKAGE STORES.
    Maryland: Beer, wine, and liquor sold at PRIVATIZED PACKAGE STORES IN MOST COUNTIES
    West Virginia: Beer, wine, and liquor sold at PRIVATIZED PACKAGE STORES, beer and wine sales at grocery stores.
    Ohio: Beer, wine, and liquor sold at PRIVATIZED PACKAGE STORES, with beer, wine, and low alc spirits at grocery stores.

    I am a progressive, I oppose piratization of our assets in general, but I am also a native Jersey girl (a totally privatized state in terms of booze retail), and I believe that the fact that Pennsylvania is the ONLY STATE other than Mormon Utah to control all sales of wine, and is the ONLY STATE to require a person to go to two different establishments to buy a six pack or case.

    Have the people who have opposed saner liquor laws ever even been out of the state? Hell, jump on PATCO and you will find a lot of package stores with infinitely better selections of wine and liquor, as well as CHEAPER beer.

  2. B West says:

    ? Let me tell you that the PLCB is a self sufficient state run system that puts money BACK into the coffers. If it is done away with, 4000+ people will be ot of work. Only the big box stores, grocery stores, etc will be able to purchase the licenses as the cost will be prohibitive for mom and pop stores. Will prices drop? Very doubtful, the state hase such huge buying power, that no-one other than Walmart type stores will be able to force suppliers to low prices. Lets say I buy a small store in PA. Am I going to keep a wide variety of stock? Nope, just what SELLS, the basics, so your “choices will be farely nonexistent” except for basics, unless your store is in a bigger city. A huge area of PA is rural and most of this rural area will not benefit from the ” so called positives” of the proposed plan. It would be a quick windfall for the state, but over the longterm, the money that the PLCB puts into the coffers each year will disappear. Don’t quote me, but they put something like 200 million back into the state. So other than a get rich scheme, based in our capital city, (harrisburg pa) that is near bankruptcy, it would be shooting our selves in the foot, and putting thousands out of work and that loss of revenue. I can almost guarentee higher prices, big stores as owners (and they have deeper pockets to have lower prices) not many rural stores, less choices, poor product knowledge, no specialty oredering/transfers from nearby PLCB run liquor stores, and many other issues that I cannot go into detail. No I do not work for the state, nor am I affiliated with it. Just a concerned citizen who like to imbide once in a while. Also, who will head up alcohol education for our youngin’s?

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