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Ferlo pushes plan to keep and improve state liquor stores

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Bottles of wine for sale at a Wine & Spirits store in Hempfield.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

HARRISBURG — As debate continues over privatizing the state liquor system, a Democratic senator on Wednesday proposed legislation that would keep and improve the state stores.

Sen. Jim Ferlo of Highland Park sent a memo to colleagues seeking co-sponsors for a bill to “modernize” Pennsylvania's Wine and Spirits stores.

The 619 stores could close under legislation pushed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. The House plans to vote on Corbett's bill, or an amended version, when its liquor committee considers the bill in two weeks.

“I am proud to introduce legislation to modernize, rather than privatize, Pennsylvania's liquor sales operations,” Ferlo said.

“My proposal will address consumer concerns, protect middle-class jobs, and move the revenue-generating asset that is the (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) forward into the future.”

Ferlo said his legislation would address pricing, flexibility in hiring, direct shipment of wine and changes in beer sales.

His ideas would allow stores “to operate at peak performance, and will help produce as much as $100 million,” Ferlo said.

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