Phasing out state-run liquor stores
LEWISBURG — A plan to phase out Pennsylvania’s 600 state-run liquor stores and raise millions in revenue by selling licenses to private businesses is on its way to the state Senate. The measure passed the House yesterday after about seven hours of debate. All area legislators voted in favor of the measure, including State Representative Fred Keller (R-85th, Kreamer).
Keller said, “The bill that passed in the House is a bill that moves Pennsylvania from a monopoly controlling just the wine and spirits aspect on wholesale and resale, and moving that to private resale and wholesale. It also takes the monopoly of the wholesale beer distributors and gives them the opportunity to sell wine, beer and spirits.”
Keller explained why he supported the measure. He said, “It moves Pennsylvania in the right direction, because it gives the distributor something that nobody else has. They can sell wine, beer and spirits under one roof. The supermarkets would then get the opportunity to buy a wine permit.”
Democratic opponents are warning the privatization bill will put thousands of state store employees out of work, cost more and generate less revenue than supporters predict. The proposal is likely to see changes in the Senate. (Ali Stevens/AP)