Politicians jockey for favored liquor privatization plans
HARRISBURG — Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley on Monday continued working with people on both sides of liquor privatization while the lead House sponsor of a privatization bill expressed confidence in his plan to “move Pennsylvania into the 21st century.”
“We're on the verge of making a significant change,” said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods.
The House Liquor Committee is scheduled to consider privatization in two weeks, and a full House vote on a bill could happen by March 20. But it remains unclear whether a full-scale privatization plan, such as Gov. Tom Corbett's, or a “hybrid” plan, which keeps the state stores and expands private sales, will get the vote in committee.
“The governor has put forth a strong privatization plan, which I fully support,” Turzai said.
Committee Chairman John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, has said his goal is to move a bill that can win House support. Taylor could not be reached.
Corbett's plan would eliminate the 619 state stores and sell 1,200 wine and spirits licenses. Grocery stores and big box stores could sell wine and beer. Distributors with “enhanced” licenses could sell wine, liquor and beer.
Corbett would sell the wholesale and retail control of the business with a goal of collecting $1 billion for education grants to school districts.
Under Taylor's plan, state stores would remain the only outlets for liquor. They would sell wine in competition with 1,200 licensees for wine and beer sales. The bill would allow the sale of up to 30 beers at a time by bars, restaurants and any entity with a license.
Virtually any privatization plan would hit hurdles in the Senate, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.
Incremental change is easier politically, Borick said.
“I can support any hybrid that gets the state out of the wholesale business,” said Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Moon, a committee member. “Chairman Taylor has done a great job in moving this issue forward and I am confident a quality product will move out of committee, through the House and then to the Senate for their review.”
Turzai could introduce Corbett's plan as a bill as early as Tuesday.
The situation remained fluid on which proposal or compromise would emerge from committee.
“It's always been the case with privatization that the devil is in the details,” Borick said.
Cawley has “systematically been meeting with stakeholders,” said his spokesman Chad Saylor. Cawley met with retailers, business leaders, grocery store executives, the leader of the union representing state store employees, the governor's staff and legislators, Saylor said.
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Council votes to ban tobacco use in Pittsburgh parks
- 7 percent in Allegheny County allowed to carry concealed gun
- ‘Ambitious goal’ set for reducing HIV infections in Allegheny County
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Pittsburgh region’s philanthropic sector at top of nation’s pack
- Group reports ethnically charged comments in Moroccan taxi driver’s Hazelwood shooting
- Ex-recreation director settles age discrimination lawsuit against Pittsburgh
- Allegheny County park facility reservations going online
- Mt. Lebanon puts temporary halt on deer kill
- Merged United Way to reveal 5-year plan aimed at Western Pa. children
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh gets $500K estate gift