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Disserving Pennsylvania: Last call

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Democrats call the liquor-reform plan put forth by a Senate Republican on Tuesday a “cruel hoax.” And it is. But so, too, has been each and every “reform” plan proposed by this Legislature.

The latest flaccid measure to end Pennsylvania's Soviet-style state liquor monopoly comes from Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks. His dead-on-arrival plan, while allowing hotels, restaurants and beer distributors to sell liquor and wine, preserves the state store system and the state's wholesale supply system for a loosey-goosey interim.

Some “reform.”

The House-passed plan that won't go anywhere is one big sop to the equally archaic Soviet beer distribution system, giving beer distributors a perverse favored monopolist status to add wine and liquor sales.

And there's still talk of getting a bill to Gov. Tom Corbett by the June 30 end of the legislative session. God forbid what road kill of a measure that might be.

This cluster-cluck has to stop. Unequivocal legislation must be passed to remove the state from the wholesale and retail liquor business. Equally unambiguous legislation must be passed that would put up for auction licenses to sell beer, wine and liquor in any configuration the auction winners deem fit. Anything less is unacceptable.

And if those in Harrisburg disagree, voters will have a stern message the next time they seek re-election. No one should be spared.

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