House reps in favor of privatizing state stores
HARRISBURG — Butler County's House delegation helped pass a House bill aimed at privatizing the state's liquor stores.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, a longtime supporter of getting the state out of the liquor business, said he is willing to take less than Republican Gov. Tom Corbett proposed to help the bill become law.
HB 790 passed the House 105-90 Thursday night.
A modified version of Corbett's bill, without automatic elimination of the liquor stores, won approval this week in the House Liquor Committee. The bill the House OK'd proposes to phase out 619 state stores. It also does not include education grants, financed via liquor license auctions, that Corbett sought.
Metcalfe would prefer to see license revenue used for road and bridge improvements.
Providing block grants to school districts amounts to giving it to the teachers' unions, he said. “It's like throwing the money away,” Metcalfe said.
Grocery stores could sell beer and wine if they have an eatery and an “R” or restaurant license. Beer distributors would be able to sell liquor, wine and beer.
Rep. Brian Ellis, who represents the city of Butler and the central part of the county, was one of the 14 Republicans who approved the compromise bill in committee last week. Ten Democrats voted against it.
“I think ultimately the fact that a lot of folks didn't get exactly what they wanted shows the product was on the right path,” Ellis said.
Ellis said beer distributors in his district are split about 50-50 on the bill.
Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Butler County, said he is undecided and needs to look at the bill more carefully as it goes to the Senate. “I do not want to see anyone get hurt,” he said.
Rep. Jaret Gibbons, an Ellwood City Democrat whose district includes portions of Butler, Beaver and Lawrence counties, was one of 90 Democrats who tried to halt privatization.
A pro-union Republican from Bucks County, Rep. Gene Digirolamo voted with the Democrats in committee to kill the proposal and voted “no” on Thursday.
Rep. Dick Stevenson, a Mercer County Republican who represents northern Butler County, is a co-sponsor of the bill.
As for spending the revenue on education, Stevenson said, “That's a discussion we should have after this is done.”
The money could be placed in trust until that decision is made, he said.
Rep. Lee James, a Republican who represents Venango County and part of Butler County, voted for the bill, as did Metcalfe, Ellis and Stevenson.
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 and 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.
- Toys for Tots distributor in Butler County searches for home
- Aldi set to open Cranberry location
- Connoquenessing Valley innovative learning space emphasizes interaction
- Butler County community reigns as king of Cranberries
- High number of rentals a double-edged sword for Butler
- Drilling regulations divisive in Middlesex
- Butler County holiday events schedule
- Interstate 376 lanes reopen in Hopewell following garbage truck fire
- Iron Mountain digs deep in Butler County mine to bring in clients
- Butler County to join growing 911 network
- Grant provides resources for SRO officer at Seneca Valley