Plan would keep Pennsylvania sole liquor wholesaler
By Mike Wereschagin
Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
One way or another, Pennsylvania gets paid.
A liquor privatization bill state Sen. Charles McIlhinney Jr., R-Doylestown, proposed would allow private companies to sell wine and spirits but would preserve Pennsylvania's role as the state's sole wholesaler. So, before a customer buys a bottle of wine from a local business, the business owner first would buy that bottle from the state, under McIlhinney's proposal.
The measure would preserve the Liquor Control Board's place as the country's largest single purchaser of wine and spirits. All the state's wine and liquor would continue to flow through the PLCB's warehouses in Blawnox, Philadelphia and Taylor.
It would keep a steady stream of money flowing into the state's bank account, said Gail Reinard, executive director of the Law and Justice Committee, which McIlhinney chairs. Details are still being drafted, she said.
The state's wholesale monopoly “is valuable,” Reinard noted.
In the 2011-12 fiscal year, when tight budget constraints sparked bitter budget fights, the state Treasury took in about $500 million from the Liquor Control Board, more than $400 million of which came through liquor and sales taxes. The board transferred $80 million to the general fund, according to Treasury figures.
“You don't want to completely blow up that system,” Reinard said. McIlhinney's bill aims to preserve — and even increase — that $80 million by maintaining state government's role as middleman between the global wine and spirits industry and drinkers.
A closed market could lock in higher prices for consumers, opponents of McIlhinney's bill worry.
“We wouldn't tell McDonald's they can only buy hamburger patties from Burger King and then expect that consumers will get a fair price,” said Rep. Mike Reese, R-Mt. Pleasant Township.
State Capitol reporter Brad Bumsted contributed to this report. Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Congressional races set for Pennsylvania
- Sandusky’s wife says she believes he’s innocent
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- Contract arranged Pennsylvania Game Commission director’s early exit
- 2 Democrats challenge for congressman’s seat in 12th District
- Filings leave Corbett facing new challenge
- Gas tax could factor into Pennsylvania gubernatorial race
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
- PennDOT to pay team of companies for bridge repairs under single contract
- CSX makes deal with state on shipments of hazardous materials
- Pa. turnpike crash lesson for planners