Corbett To Announce Liquor Sales Privatization Plan - KMSP-TV

Corbett To Announce Liquor Sales Privatization Plan

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BENSALEM, Pa. -

Liquor sales could soon be coming to a store near you in Pennsylvania.

Less than a week before Corbett gives his budget address Tuesday, he is holding a 2 p.m. news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce he wants to change from state-owned liquor stores to privately-owned stores.

Corbett is expected to announce a plan that would involve shutting down more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores as a prelude to auctioning 1,200 wine and liquor store licenses.

And most of those following the talks on this or even involved in the talks, believe the governor will announce plans to allow selling licenses for retail stores and wholesalers, also allowing beer and wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. He could even put forth the case for selling cases in places like Cosco, Sam's Club and Walmart.

The governor cannot just do this on his own. The changes would have to be approved by the state legislature. And attempts in the past to make the state stores private stores go from Gov. Tom Ridge on to up to a legislative proposal just last year that never got enough support to make it happen.

A spokesman says the governor believes Pennsylvanians should have the same convenience in purchasing alcohol as residents of many other states do.

Opponents fear the move will cost the state money, and a lot of union jobs.

Philadelphia Republican state Rep. John Taylor, chariman of the House Liquor Control Committee, said,

"So, if you make a beer distributor defunct because you've changed the rules because now you can buy it in grocery stores, what are you going to do with that person's license, his livelihood, his 15 employees or whatever. Not to say that it can't be done, but it's a heavy lift in terms of the problems it causes."

You have got a union representing all of those thousands of state store workers, plus a lot of the people in the industry itself who have been successfully fighting this with lobbying. The governor can announce anything he wants. The question is does he get the support from his legislature, FOX 29's Steve Keeley reported Wednesday morning from outside one of the state stores.

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