Thankfully, Governor Corbett’s attempt to provatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania stalled in the state legislature back in June, weighed down by fears that it will cause job layoffs, damage to family-owned beer distributors, a drop in state revenues, increases in sales to minors, and a loss of consumer convenience, particularly in areas like ours.
But it’s clear from the billboards along our highways, paid for by Sheetz convenience stores, that the special interests are still trying to push the governor’s privatization scheme again this fall, and spending big money to do it.
Now the special interests may still care about this issue, but few regular Pennsylvanians do. An independent Franklin and Marshall College poll released in May showed that 57% of Pennsylvania voters would rather see the existing system modernized or kept the same, rather than privatized. Another recent Franklin and Marshall poll showed only 5% of voters view liquor privatization as a priority for the state legislature.
Rather than totally dismantling the current system, the legislature can just make changes that will improve the current system without creating the disruption, job loss, and revenue decline that privatization would cause.
There is a bipartisan bill that would allow more wine and spirit stores to be open on Sunday, allow longer hours and flexible pricing, and enable the PLCB to put more stores into or next to grocery stores. These changes could generate as much as $100 million more in revenue for Pennsylvania taxpayers.
If our legislators follow the interests of the regular Pennsylvanians, instead of special interests, that’s what they should pass.
A Pennsylvania Citizen