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Road to liquor privatization: Cheers!

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
 

A pro-privatization Liquor Control Board majority can't get Pennsylvania out of the wine and spirits business by itself, but it can — it must — renew momentum toward Gov. Tom Corbett accomplishing that goal.

The Senate must swiftly confirm Philadelphia lawyer Kenneth Trujillo, Mr. Corbett's nominee to replace privatization opponent Patrick Stapleton on the LCB. Along with Corbett appointee Joseph E. “Skip” Brion, the LCB's chairman, Mr. Trujillo will form a pro-privatization majority on the three-member board.

Getting the state out of a business it has no business being in still is up to lawmakers. A spokesman says House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods — whose privatization legislation has yet to pass despite GOP control of the Legislature — hopes the revamped LCB “will no longer act as a block ... .”

Pennsylvanians surely hope so, too.

However, the new LCB can benefit the public directly by eliminating its CEO position, which pays $156,700 a year. Proving that job's lack of necessity, it was vacant for two decades before 2007, when Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell's appointment of Joe Conti as CEO in a political power play led the LCB's then-chairman to quit.

By eliminating its CEO post, the new LCB would send lawmakers a clear pro-privatization message and encourage long-suffering Pennsylvanians to press them to end the state's archaic monopoly.

Kenneth Trujillo can't be confirmed soon enough.

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