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House Majority Leader Promotes Governor's Plan to Privatize Liquor Stores

Rep. Mike Turzai is a longtime proponent of selling off state Wine & Spirits stores.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, appeared alongside Gov. Tom Corbett this week to push for the privatization of state liquor stores.

Corbett on Wednesday announced his plan to privatize the liquor system in Pennsylvania and committed $1 billion in proceeds from the process to education funding.

Turzai proposed legislation in 2011 to privatize wholesale and retail liquor distribution and sell off Pennsylvania's state stores. 

He has repeatedly said government should not be in the business of selling wine and liquor or promoting alcohol use.

“Privatizing wine and liquor will eliminate the 75-year-old state monopoly on liquor sales by auctioning retail licenses to the private sector and investing $1 billion of the proceeds in public education," Turzai said in newsletter, which was published Friday.

 “The governor’s plan includes auctioning 1,200 licenses for retail sales of wine and spirits by county, 800 of which would be for larger stores and 400 for smaller stores. It’s time Pennsylvania moves into the 21st century by transitioning Pennsylvania to what every state around us has: the ability to buy wine, spirits and beer in more convenient locations."

Pennsylvania and Utah are the only states in the U.S. with state-controlled liquor systems.

What do you think? Should the state sell off the Wine & Spirits stores to the private sector? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Matt Dragovits February 04, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Typical political short-sighted thinking. The state liquor stores have been a continuous source of profit for the state for decades. Sure, there will be a quick profit if they go private, but it won't match the revenue stream we see over the long term. Why would anyone with any business sense sell a highly profitable business? It's foolish.
karen turley February 04, 2013 at 03:39 PM
When taxes go up to make for the loss of revenue and the jobless numbers goup lets all remember it was all to have cheaper and more available liquor. Good tradeoff? Fiscally not a great plan for a one time boost in education funds that actually won't give much to any school district after that billion is all split up among the many districts in the state! That was a feel good statement to get people to be more agreeable. There has to be a way to protect the budget too because all of us will eventually be paying a lot more for this decision.
Walt February 04, 2013 at 10:42 PM
The State will collect as much or more tax revenue, short and long term. We'll have better access, better selection, better service. The state will be out of a business that it had no business operating in the first place. The only ones who will "lose" are the union employees who will have to work for a market-based wage. The governor doesn't have to commit to directing tax revenues anywhere to get support for privatization, it's just good old common sense!
Ed February 05, 2013 at 04:23 PM
let's see, if they put billion in a trust and earn only 3% on it, they'll generate million in revenue on the investment alone, not to mention what they would generate in takes on liquor sales.

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